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Background and Context of Debate:
This is an historic and contemporary philosophical debate. Confucius, Kant, Hobbes, Locke, Rousseau, Ghandi and countless other philosophers have weighed in on this debate. While violent revolution is often extolled as an historic, brave action taken by righteous founding members of various societies in the world, it has also be rejected by some of the most well respected philosopher practitioners of our time, including Mahatma Ghandi and Martin Luther King Jr. among many others.
Is violent revolution ever justified? This question continues to be relevant today. The non-violent civil disobedience of Myanmar's buddhist monks in the Fall of 2007 called on this question once again. Pakistan's revolutionary stirrings in the Fall and Winter of 2007 also highlighted the question. How should citizens respond to oppression, including violent oppression? Should they "turn the other cheek"? Should they respond with non-violent civil disobedience? Or, should they respond with decisive force? How should foreign governments respond? What philosophies and methods should they uphold? Should they supply foreign citizens with arms? These questions and this debate remain very much alive in today's international political environment.