Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America

Overview

"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

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Overview

"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 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.

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).

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781904859185
  • Publisher: AK Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2007
  • Edition description: ANN
  • Pages: 228
  • Sales rank: 965,937
  • Product dimensions: 5.00 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet 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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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2005

    A Still-Relevent Classic

    Churchill explodes the cult of 'non-violent resistance' and exposes the extreme priviledge that (more often than not) underlies these ideals, as well as its futility. A good, informative read for any 'activist' type. A must read for anyone who markets themselves as 'progressive', 'anti-war,'and 'passive'.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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