By August 25, 2016 3 Comments Read More →

The Power of Nonviolent Acts of Humiliation

Pink Riot Cops FXGary ‘Z’ McGee, Staff Writer
Waking Times

Rise of The Coup Warriors:

“Counting Coup is a robust exhibition… it serves to examine how the tactics of mundane survival can be subversive, even as blatantly courageous as the actions of old: riding one’s horse pell-mell at an enemy who wants you dead, touching him with your bare hand, and turning around and speeding off, leaving your foe astonished and confounded by the nerve of your valor.” ~Kathryn M. Davis

Your skin may be white, black, brown, red, yellow, or whatever other stereotypical color you wish to marginalize it with. But your heart is red. It bleeds red no matter your race, nationality, or creed. We are all united in red and the red nation has the potential to rise again, and it can be a blessing for a sick world.

In honor of the recent events unfolding Between the North Dakota Sioux tribe and the development of the Dakota Access Pipeline, this article is an attempt to update the concept of counting coup using strategic humiliation and imaginative nonviolence, while courageously turning the tables on the ecocidal Goliath state that looms menacingly over us all.

Humiliation is a powerful psychosocial leveling mechanism. It can be more powerful than violence if it is done intelligently and imaginatively enough. The Native American concept of counting coup is a prime example.

As described by the combined references of Chief Plenty Coups, Black Elk, and Joe Medicine Crow:

“Counting coup refers to the winning of prestige in battle by the Plains Indians of North America. Warriors won prestige by acts of bravery in the face of the enemy, and these acts could be recorded in various ways and retold as stories. Any blow struck against the enemy counted as a coup, but the most prestigious acts included touching an enemy warrior with the hand, bow, or with a coup stick then escaping unharmed. Touching the enemy’s defensive works also counted as coup. Counting coup could also involve stealing an enemy’s weapons or horses tied up to his lodge in camp. Risk of injury or death was required to count coup.”

Counting coup is far superior to the cowardice of a violent attack, because it showcases a higher level of courage while also alleviating the peaceful warrior from the guilt that comes from taking a human life. It also indirectly sets the stage for wise humor to win out over ignorant anger, thus potentially bringing the tragedy of war around full circle to the tragicomedy of the human condition: to a sacred place where we can all laughably relate, whether friend or foe, comrade or enemy.

Counting coup requires great courage, and great courage requires deep love. As such, counting coup uses the shaming mechanism of direct humiliation as a means to the end of bringing an “enemy” back from the egocentric path of unhealthy, immoderate, apathetic, ecocidal, violent action and onto the eco-centric path of healthy, moderate, empathetic, interdependent, non-violent action. Its goal is to shame those who have lost their way in the ugliness of violence and war into finding their way back into the peaceful fold of love. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “Those who love peace must learn to organize as effectively as those who love war.”

Counting coup is the epitome of organizing peacefully, lovingly, and courageously in the face of those who have carelessly and unconsciously organized themselves with violence and war in their heart. As Derrick Jensen said, “Love does not imply pacifism.”

It won’t be easy. Truly courageous acts never are. As Robert Reich surmised, “Mobilizing and changing the allocation of power within a society is a serious, long term and very difficult process.” Especially if you are a tiny David in the midst of a giant Goliath. But a true peaceful warrior, a coup warrior, will always choose courageous failure over cowardice success. As I wrote in The Virtue of Dissent, “Sure, it’s risky. But acts of courage always are. The virtue found in dissent is not for the meek and mild. The capacity needed to burden the vicissitudes and handle the heat, is great. But never has there been a greater need for people of this particular caliber.”

Intelligent Nonviolence and Strategic Humiliation

“Nonviolence does not mean meek submission to the will of the evil-doer. It means the pitting of one’s whole soul against the will of the tyrant. Working under this law of our being, it is possible for a single individual to defy the whole might of an unjust empire to save his honor, his spirituality, his soul and lay the foundation for that empire’s fall.” ~Gandhi

Here’s the thing: Violence is for the weak. A violent person is a symbol of failure. No ifs, ands, or buts about it. A man in a tank is not a symbol of courage as the weak propagandized media will have you believe. Nor are two men pathetically and ignobly facing off in a warzone, or even in an arena. No, these are symbols of invulnerable cowardice. Similarly, a man who offensively (cops, soldiers), rather than defensively (protectors and peace bringers), hides behind a gun, is a symbol of fear and paranoia, not of courage and valor. Courage and valor is sneaking up behind that coward with a gun and depantsing him in front of his peers. It’s climbing on top of that tank and pissing into the hatch. It’s cunningly turning the tables on the would-be violent person using the art of fighting without fighting, as Bruce Lee did in the movie Enter the Dragon. The key is caring about people to the extent that you don’t harm them, but not caring about what they think, or about hurting their feelings. The other key is getting away with it.

READ: The Art of Fighting Without Fighting

Imagine creatively counting coup on such mega-corporations as Exxon, Monsanto, Pfizer, and Goldman Sachs. Imagine scenes from the movie Fight Club (especially the Project Mayhem chapter of it) strategically and intelligently brought to life. Imagine the thin blue line transformed into the thin green line as you piss all over the cops so-called authority (yellow and blue makes green, after all). Just remember, there is a fine line between courage and stupidity. Hence the terms “intelligent” and “strategic.” So pick your battles smartly and deliberately, and move on with your courage in tow and your “coup stick” blazing with notches of valor.

Counting coup trumps artillery with art. It trumps apathy with empathy. It trumps fear with courage. It trumps seriousness with a sense of humor. It trumps greed with self-sacrifice. It trumps paranoia with pronoia (Rob Brezsny). In one fell swoop (a mocking touch, a graffiti tag, a humiliating smack on the ass, standing in front of a tank armed with nothing but shopping bags, sticking a flower into the barrel of a gun, etc.) the Coup Warrior, the Heyoka Activist, the Reverse Warrior, The Rainbow Warrior, mightily declares to all: the so-called power of authority is nothing more than a cartoon in the brain, an agreed-upon social ailment that must be transcended with courage and humor, lest we fall victim to becoming “well-adjusted to a profoundly sick society.” (Krishnamurti)

Living Dangerously

“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong.” ~Voltaire

Danger be damned! As Nietzsche said, “The secret of reaping the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment from life is to live dangerously.” An act of counting coup takes living dangerously to the next level. The fruits gained are the fruits of prestige and honor in the face of the deplorable and dishonorable control pathetically displayed by the unhealthy authority of the state. Courage in the face of fear, paranoia, greed and tyranny, even at the risk of imprisonment or death, will always trump the comfortable cowardice of indifference toward atrocity or the reassurance gained from succumbing to the security of the status quo. As Albert Einstein surmised, “Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”

If we can strategically raise shaming to a social leveling mechanism and update the concept of counting coup, we can turn humiliation into an art form that is far superior to violence in response to violence. Indeed. Instead of the never-ending violent cycle of “an eye for an eye” we replace it with a courageous, humorous, and non-violent “I for an eye.” We just need to use our imagination and dig down deep for a little bit of dangerous courage.

The modern-day David’s sling shot is an updated counting of coup. We don’t need to kill Goliath, we just need to send it crying and humiliated back into its cave of lies. Let it rot there from its own overindulgence and immoderation. Let it topple there under its own unsustainability and overreach. Let it defeat itself there as it poisons its own water with pollution and “growth for the sake of growth.”

And if it should manage to rise back up from its humiliation looking for a fight, all the coup warrior needs to say is:

“You want to fight me? Go ahead and try. Do what you’ve got to do. I’m not fighting you. I refuse to lower myself to your level. But I will laugh at you. I will intimidate you. I will mock your violence with my humor. I will dodge your every blow. I will be in your face as a lover of life despite your support of violence, death, and war. I will, in more ways than one, count coup on you and your outdated war machine. Mine is a way of peace and non-violence. The only way you will ever earn the honor of fighting me is if my life is in immediate danger. And if my life is in immediate danger then there is no decision to make. Either I’m going to die or you’re going to die. But I will not fight you as long as the decision is mine. Your absolute humiliation is my only goal. For you have lost your way, and your only way back to the moral path is by way of humiliation. And if that should backfire into you acting violently towards me, so be it. But I will always rise up against your cowardly violence with my courageous non-violence, even if that means my imprisonment or death. For not even death can stop those who are truly free.”

As Alexander Berkman declared, “The man who can face vilification and disgrace, who can stand up against the popular current, even against his friends and his country when he knows he is right, who can defy those in authority over him, who can take punishment and prison and remain steadfast—that is a man of courage.”

Tyranny or freedom? Fascism or anarchy? The choice is yours.

About the Author

Gary ‘Z’ McGeea former Navy Intelligence Specialist turned philosopher, is the author of Birthday Suit of God and The Looking Glass Man. His works are inspired by the great philosophers of the ages and his wide awake view of the modern world.

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This article (The Power of Nonviolent Acts of Humiliation) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is printed here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Gary ‘Z’ McGee and It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution, author bio, and this statement of copyright.

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  • what if…

    Great job Z, we really needed to hear that! May the Creator bless our wise Native Americans who have so much to teach us that their adversaries never won against them, in the end. One has to salute their bravery and integrity for all this time. I apologize to them for what happens in this world to all of us, as the fascist oligarchs would make all human beings their slaves if they had their way, WHICH THEY WILL NOT!

    As a modern scaled-down version of a coup, how about trying to humiliate a troll by telling them how much you love them and whatever they say? I tried it! And I couldnt believe how good it felt not to get provoked at all, and give a troll something ridiculous to think about, instead of getting irritated, like they want you to do.

    We can all do that when the trolls get personal…..What fun! Woo-whoo! It can sure stimulate a lot of disagreement though, like soft trolling, where seemingly previously disinterested/quiet & disagreeable pos(t)ers finally come streaming in out of the woodwork.

    After having a little fun with them, instead of getting provoked, watch to see if & when a different backup troll identity (but likely the same troll) comes on later (standard ops procedure), still harping on you & personality issues instead of the subject of the article, then you’ll know you scored a coup! Block them as a thank you!

    Actually, I suggest this procedure: 1. vote down any personal comments about you and not the subject under discussion, proceed directly to step 3, OR 2. make any stupid, nonsensical, ridiculous but “loving” response (the creative & funny part!) and then 3. block them for (your) good on Disqus. Then forget them & feel good! You turned a situation around and got yourself a small coup! It will never matter what they try to write to you again, and everyone else will ignore/forget anything that is not directly personal against them. Just dont forget to play “whack the next mole-troll” who makes anything too personal or about the posters. Will it happen to you if you play with them untimidly?? Some rather timid posts are easy to find here….

    I had been wondering why so few comments are usually made here? Is it possible this area is heavily/quietly pa(troll)ed and posters are eventually ambushed when they speak up just a little too freely about what they believe may be the truth?? Why is it so quiet here most of the time then?? And why can an honest poster get so easily attacked for agreeing with an article because it sounds truthful to them? Why is everyone pretending trolls dont even exist when I found about 3 pa(troll)ing Waking Times without trying in the last week?

    For instance, not a word from the posters for or against trolls mentioned after this epic tome of a comment? Why no common/backup support from posters against trolls? Conspiracy, agenda? I remember one poster who literally wrote “f*** off troll” (without the asterisks). Was he imagining it? Curiously, I wonder if that was approved without a Pending (approval) delay?

    Something smells pretty fishy, like some people have been doing a lot of trolling here to me. It kind of gives me the impression the truth is not supported in the comments section here. Be aware that everything here is subject to extensive editing, including your own comments, and possibly unexplained delays in Pending (approval) status which is both good and bad, so to speak. And good luck, which you will probably need, if you post anything you believe to be honest here, especially if it agrees with an article that can be disagreed with by a troll, because they will surely tell you how wrong you could be, directly & unkindly, without consideration for your freedom to have your own opinions.

    Maybe Im wrong about some of this, but some honest posters have seemed to be missing to me, and some intolerant sounding souls here, could sure be paid trolls with a propaganda agenda. A recent comment I heard was that the Israelis (Khazarian mafia) monitor our internet, True? I remember reports from long ago that they had paid-troll (highly relocatable) boiler rooms dedicated to promoting the Israeli agenda. Remember the dancing Israelis from 911, the attempted sinking of the USS Liberty? You decide, or try some research about it if your intuition needs a little help. Try to openly speak your mind here and see if your free speech is really supported, or what eventually happens……like possibly distractions, redirections and provocations. Gang trolling should be just as real as corruption is, so why shouldnt we expect our covert propaganda & programming to come from many sources?

    Could it be more prudent to keep the truth (or your truth) between yourself and you Creator, than to waste time swimming back & forth with the irreverent, incontrovertible, & disagreeable trolls in the comments section? I am beginning to wonder if a lot of intelligent, good people may have figured this out already, and that is why they are not posting freely! What a tremendous distraction and waste of your time it is arguing with them about what the truth really is, so decide for yourself, and perhaps without their input most of the time. It may be difficult to help others find the truth where there are magpies cackling their own brand of mind control that evokes emotions instead of reason in the background.

    Comment areas do not seem to be an effective way to spread the truth, for instance because the truth bearing articles quickly become secondary data and unimportant, compared to collective distortions which are egotistically, emotionally and even falsely mind controlled, instead of independent thought, reasoning, research and tolerance of others freedom of speech. The articles which initiate the comments are often attempts, I believe, to break through commonly supported deceptions, and are thus coups themselves.

    Why spend time arguing? Just take them (support them), or leave them with or without comments as they are often apparently unappreciated. No comments are needed by those who have already “made up” their minds or chosen sides before they read articles. It is really interesting to analyze comments on Amazon about products. You can understand a lot about what to buy that way, but it can take a lot of time & effort. A great deal of information is right there to study. How many people want to fully understand or use it carefully to find their own truth, do ya think? I wonder. Can we trust the articles we enjoy more than the comic comments section?

    In my opinion free-speech articles and comments are Coups no matter how the readers or trolls respond because they are still getting through to the masses, who are waking up at Waking Times. But It may help the awakening to know that the comments areas likely would be infiltrated and negatively compromised to at least some significant degree against truth, freedom and awakening. Does this sound like a warning to be careful about what you are led to believe in the comments and be discerning? Well, it is.

  • Jerry Hlava

    Thank you for your wisdom and teaching actually.
    .We do not have to learn only from the tribe stand point.
    We have man who run for the president of America against all ads’
    strong ,smart wit vision of better life for all of us.Here is the place we all can
    remove our shackles today.

  • arielmonserrat

    Mr. McGee, thank you for this thoughtful writing. It’s brilliant and I love it, it’s also very helpful! I watched the video of the brave warriors protesting against the pipeline and the wondrous display of expert horsemanship as they held the authorities at bay. It was inspiring and beautiful and made me cry. These are people who are truly courageous and brave and willing to take a stand for what is right and to protect our sacred Earth. It helps me to be brave during these difficult times, when I saw those warriors on horseback.
    We can learn much from the Native Americans, who live with integrity in nature and have such a beautiful spiritual path.
    Counting coup is what we all need to be doing in these times.

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