Radical Pacifism: The War Resisters League and Gandhian Nonviolence in America, 1915-1963

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This deeply researched book is the first history of the War Resisters League, an organization that represents the major vehicle of secular radical pacifism in the United States. Besides opposing all U. S. wars and championing conscientious objection to these wars, Scott H. Bennett shows how the WRL -- led by its colorful members -- functioned as a "movement halfway house," assisting and influencing a variety of social reform groups and campaigns. He devotes special attention to WWII conscientious objectors (COs) who staged dramatic wartime work and hunger strikes in Civilian Public Service camps and prisons against Jim Crow, censorship, conscription, and other policies. These radical COs moved the postwar WRL in new directions -- and transformed radical pacifism. By recovering the important links between the WRL and the peace, civil rights, civil liberties, and antinuclear movements, Bennett demonstrates the social relevance and political effectiveness of radical pacifism. He emphasizes the WRL's most important legacy its promotion, legitimization, and Americanization of Gandhian nonviolent direct action, which infused the postwar peace and justice movements.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780815630289
  • Publisher: Syracuse University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2003
  • Series: Syracuse Studies on Peace and Conflict Resolution
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 1,226,798
  • Product dimensions: 6.34 (w) x 9.28 (h) x 0.76 (d)

Table of Contents

1 Jessie Wallace Hughan and the WRL: The Origins, Founding, and Philosophy of the WRL and Radical Secular Pacifism in America from World War I to 1925 1
2 Consolidation and Growth: The WRL Between the World Wars, 1923-1941 23
3 Socialist Pacifism and Nonviolent Social Revolution: The WRL and the Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939 50
4 Dissent from the "Good War": The WRL and World War II, 1939-1945 69
5 Toward Direct Action: The WRL and the CO Revolts in CPS and Prison, 1940-1945 98
6 The Pacifist House Divided: The Debate over Nonviolent Direct Action, Civil Disobedience, and the WRL Agenda, 1945-1955 134
7 Nonaligned International Pacifism: The WRL and the Cold War, 1945-1955 173
8 Present at the Creation: The WRL, Direct Action, Civil Disobedience, and the Rebirth of the Peace and Justice Movements, 1955-1963 204
Epilogue and Conclusion 239
Notes 249
Selected Bibliography 307
Index 311
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