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Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North Americaby Ward Churchill
Synopses & Reviews
"This extraordinarily important book cuts to the heart of one of the central reasons movements to bring about social and environmental justice always fail. The fundamental question here is: is violence ever an acceptable tool to help bring about social change? This is probably the most important question of our time, yet so often discussions around it fall into clichés and magical thinking: that somehow if we are merely good and nice enough people, the state will stop using its violence to exploit us all. Would that this were true."—Derrick Jensen, author of Endgame, from the introduction.
Pacifism, the ideology of nonviolent political resistance, has been the norm among mainstream North American progressive groups for decades. But to what end? Ward Churchill challenges the pacifist movements heralded victories—Gandhi in India, 1960s antiwar activists, even Martin Luther Kings civil rights movement—suggesting that their success was in spite of, rather than because of, their nonviolent tactics. Pacifism as Pathology was written as a response not only to Churchills frustration with his own activist experience, but also to a debate raging in the activist and academic communities. He argues that pacifism is in many ways counterrevolutionary; that it defends the status quo, and doesnt lead to social change. In these times of upheaval and global protest, this is a vital and extremely relevant book.
Ward Churchill is a prolific writer and lecturer, having authored, co-authored, or edited over twenty books. He is a member of the leadership council of Colorado AIM (American Indian Movement).
In Oakland, California on March 24, 2015 a fire destroyed the AK Press warehouse along with several other businesses. Please consider visiting the AK Press website to learn more about the fundraiser to help them and their neighbors.
A searing, well-reasoned challenge to the purely-pacifist resistance of many contemporary left movements.
Cultural Writing. Political Science. Ward Churchill challenges the pacifist movement's heralded victories--Gandhi in India, 1960s antiwar activists, even Martin Luther King's civil rights movement--suggesting that their success was in spite of, rather than because of, their nonviolent tactics. PACIFISM AS PATHOLOGY was written as a response not only to Churchill's frustration with his own activist experience, but also to a debate raging in the activist and academic communities. He argues that pacifism is in many ways counterrevolutionary; that it defends the status quo, and doesn't lead to social change. In these times of upheaval and global protest, this is a vital and extremely relevant book.
Argues that while the ideology of nonviolent political action promises that the harsh realities of state power can be transcended through good feelings and purity of purpose, it is in fact a counter-revolutionary movement that defends and reinforces the same status-quo it claims to oppose. Churchill debunks the claims of historical pacifist victories, and proposes ways to diminish much of the delusion, aroma of racism, and sense of privilege which mark the covert self-defeatism of mainstream dissident politics. An important intervention, intended to generate badly-needed debate about the issue in the progressive community.
About the Author
Ward Churchill (Keetoowah Cherokee) is professor of American Indian Studies and chair of the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado/Boulder. A member of the leadership council of Colorado AIM, he is a past national spokesperson for the Leonard Peltier Defense Committee. A prolific writer and lecturer, he has authored, co-authored or edited more than 20 books. Mike Ryan is a Canadian activist who has been involved with the peace movement and civil disobedience for nearly 30 years. Derrick Jensen is one of the leading voices of cultural dissent. He is the author of over half a dozen books, often tackling themes of environmental sustainability and resistance.
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