The trouble with nonviolence



Below is an in-progress compilation of resources that attempt to confronting pacifism’s monopoly of the “moral high ground” with some historical arguments and practical interventions.

How Nonviolence Protects the State – Peter Gelderloos

This book will show that nonviolence, in its current manifestations, is based on falsified histories of struggle. It has implicit and explicit connections to white people’s manipulations of the struggles of people of color. Its methods are wrapped in authoritarian dynamics, and its results are harnessed to meet government objectives over popular objectives. It masks and even encourages patriarchal assumptions and power dynamics. Its strategic options invariably lead to dead ends. And its practitioners delude themselves on a number of key points. full book here

Smash Pacifism. A Critical Analysis of Ghandi and King – Zig Zag

Today, there are many well intentioned people who think they know the history of Gandhi and King. They assume that nonviolence won the struggle for Indian independence, and that Blacks in the US are equal citizens because of the nonviolent protests of the 1950s. Pacifist ideologues promote this version of history because it reinforces their ideology of nonviolence, and therefore their control over social movements, based on the alleged moral, political, and tactical superiority of nonviolence as a form of struggle. The state and ruling class promote this version of history because they prefer to see pacifist movements, which can be seen in the official celebrations of Gandhi (in India) and King (in the US). They prefer pacifist movements because they are reformist by nature, offer greater opportunities for collaboration and co-optation, and are more easily controlled.  full zine here

Pacifism as Pathology – Ward Churchill

this version also includes a Preface from Ed Mead, former political prisoner and member of the George Jackson Brigade, and Mike Ryan’s essay “On Ward Churchill’s ‘Pacifism as Pathology’: Toward a Revolutionary Practice.”

Why all the Smashy-Smashy? A beginner’s Guide to Targeted Property Destruction – Brendan Kiley

A short piece that established the distinction between violence and vandalism, and then goes on to chart three basic types of arguments for targeted property destruction. Pretty accessible and a good intro piece to the topic.