In my critcism of the Nobel Peace Prize, I didn’t address the point that Liu Xiaobo is an advocate for non-violent democratic change in China.
That was because it is irrelevant. It is the violence after the government falls that bothers me, not before.
The Tsar of Russia was removed non-violently, by strikes and demonstrations – the more democratic regime that replaced him lasted a few months, a different gang replaced it, their enemies started a civil war… Long story.
The exemplar of the non-violent revolutionary is Gandhi. He succeeds, the British hand over power, there are rival factions and interests sharing it out, a partition results, social unrest – 5 to 10 million dead.
Both those revolutions might nevertheless have been good things; that’s not the point. The point is that either way, the non-violence of the first stage is pretty much insignificant. A non-violent revolutionary is only harmless if he fails.