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MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Hist. S-1967 John MacDougall 8/1/2014.

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Presentation on theme: "MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Hist. S-1967 John MacDougall 8/1/2014."— Presentation transcript:

1 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Hist. S-1967 John MacDougall 8/1/2014

2 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM GENERAL ASSERTION: Often wars and terrorism occur because of deeply-felt grievances. Mass nonviolence (MNV) is a way to resolve conflicts arising out of those grievances, with less risk of the huge destruction accompanying most wars and terrorism.. This is true under quite a wide range of conditions; MNV has a good, but little-known, track record.

3 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM MNV—BASIC FEATURES: Efforts to address these grievances, WITH A COMMITMENT not to inflict physical harm on adversaries. Note: a) it’s NOT running away (pacifism isn’t passive-ism); b) often in conflicts where MNV is used, tensions increase, because previously-repressed resentments are brought out into the open; c) I’m not referring to acts by individuals (e.g. Thoreau and non-payment of taxes)

4 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM HOW MNV CAN BE MORE EFFECTIVE THAN TERRORISM/WAR In general: all powerful organizations depend on various props, e.g. money, subordinate officials. MNV seeks to weaken or remove those props. This can happen through “political ju-jitsu,” whereby the adversaries’ supposed strengths can be turned into weaknesses; and nonviolent activists can retain the initiative and be unpredictable.

5 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Specifically: a) “ju-jitsu” by ADVERSARIES, e.g. subordinate officials and soldiers switch to supporting protestors (e.g. Soviet tank drivers in 1991), partly because protestors’ refusal to inflict physical harm makes it easier for everyone to see each other as humans, and to focus on the grievances and issues, rather than on revenge or self-protection

6 b) BYSTANDERS--they can shift from being neutral to being pro-protestors. An example is, during Freedom Rides in 1961 when the bus entered Alabama and white extremists threatened to set it on fire, a local 12-year old white girl offered water to the riders, seeing them as hot and tired fellow-humans

7 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM c) PROTESTORS. Compared to in violent campaigns, people who participate in nonviolent ones can come from much more diverse backgrounds, and can have more varied levels of commitment (e.g. long- or short- term). E.g. networks of local committees in S. Africa in the 1980s helped spread consumer and rent boycotts (Ackerman & Duvall [syllabus p.8], p.361) There are opportunities for humor and creativity. An example of humor is cows as a “security threat” in a Palestinian village during the first Intifada (Ackerman & Duvall p.413)

8 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Co-operative networks among protestors may persist even after government injures protestors and damages their property, e.g. Palestinians in a W. Bank village (Staton, “Despite Crackdown…” Waging Nonviolence, 9 July 2014) Also gender inequalities can be addressed. An example is two teenage girls in Germany who nonviolently fended off an aggressive gang of young men.

9 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM BUT ALSO, BACKGROUND CONDITIONS AND PROTESTORS’ PREPARATIONS are important: (i) the adversary shouldn’t dehumanize protestors too much (contrast Syrian army at the start of the civil war, 2011-12); (ii) protestors should have an appealing cause, which is often a deeply moral one—e.g. racial justice in the US in the 1950s- 60s & in S. Africa in the 1970s-80s, or government corruption and fraudulent elections in China in 1989 and Egypt in 2011;

10 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR AND TERRORISM (iii) Protestors must carefully analyse the situation, and prepare strategies, training and media relations—e.g. Nashville lunch-counter (Ackerman and Duvall chapter 8)

11 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM (iv) Protestors must keep up their long-term commitment to nonviolence (“keep their eyes on the prize” as was said in the US civil rights movement). (v) A wide variety of groups must support the cause NOTE: MNV can be as exciting for participants as war and terrorism!

12 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Compatibility with diverse religions and cultures. For example, MNV has taken root among Catholics in Poland. Also among some Moslems--e.g. Badshah Khan in the movement against British rule in the Pathan [Pashto] region of Pakistan. A supporter recalled, “when Badshah Khan was at a loss for a suitable strategy, inspiration came…from the example of the Prophet’s exile in Medina, and he decided upon a complete lack of violence.” (Banerjee p.149).* *for citations to this and other books/articles used in this lecture, see accompanying handout

13 BADSHAH KHAN (1890-1988) “Frontier Gandhi”

14 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM M N V’S EFFECTIVENESS? In a study of 323 resistance campaigns—all involving intense conflict-- in 1900-2006, (Erica Chenoweth & Maria Maria Stephan, Why Civil Resistance Works) the findings are as follows. a) in 53% of nonviolent cases, campaigns were successful, but in 26% of violent cases, campaigns were successful; b) success rate of nonviolent campaigns generally increased in each decade since 1940 (pp.7-9)

15 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR AND TERRORISM

16 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM c) nonviolent ones are twice as successful at regime change as violent ones, about as effective on territorial issues (e.g. resisting foreign occupation) and far more successful on other issues (e.g. ending apartheid);

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18 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & V IOLENCE d) After campaigns are ended, nonviolent ones are more likely to be followed by democracy and civil peace, compared to violent campaigns (Chenoweth & Stephan, ch. 8)

19 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM M N V’S EFFECTIVENESS—CONTINUED. a)There can be less-visible LONG-TERM effects— e.g. a Black US president in 2008? b)The reportoire of tactics used by MNV is CONSTANTLY EXPANDING AND EVOLVING (just as military tactics are). Recent new MNV tactics include the Occupy movement in the US etc. since 2011; and the use of social media in the “Arab Spring” in Egypt in 2011.

20 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM BROADER CONTEXT OF M N V Spectrum of activities re: grievances, e.g. these range from “mainstream” ones which are not MNV like (i) serving the needy to (ii) building alternative educational and other organizations, to (iii) legislation--to actual MNV. Gandhi thought the “Constructive Program”—i.e. activities like (i) and (ii) was just as important a part of Satyagraha (Truth-Force) as MNV

21 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Examples of “constructive-program” activities (many of which could also be called peacebuilding) include: a) Organizations with a long-term vision that put into practice the movement’s broad goals and values. E.g. the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee did racially-integrated education in the 1930s-60s. One “alumna” was Rosa Parks.

22 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM b) Constructive and honest dialog between hostile opponents in a conflict. E.g. there are many such organizations sponsoring such dialog between Palestinians and Israelis (cf. Atran, Talking to the Enemy [syllabus p.8] pp. 378-9, 382-5)

23 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Another example: international, unarmed peacekeepers from a nongovernmental organization go to S. Sudan in the civil war and to other places. When they go, the first require the consent and respect of all parties. (Stephanie Van Hook, “Can unarmed peacekeepers work…” Waging Nonviolence, 10/31/2013)

24 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM c) Coalitions between nonviolent activists and more “mainstream” organizations; e.g. between striking Solidarity workers and the Catholic church in Poland in 1980; and in the US civil rights movement, between black activists and black and white churches.

25 d)Building skills and organizational capacity for peaceful conflict resolution. E.g. Alternatives to Violence Project (see Resources section of handout) e)Collaboration between hostile groups on MUTUALLY SHARED PROBLEMS. These may include environmental ones—cf. lecture on climate change. A GENERAL POINT: in all these 5 types of activity, it’s important for organizations to examine their commitments to social justice, and to be very aware of social-justice problems that may arise

26 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR AND TERRORISM e) Educating the public about little-known but important background information. An example is, a lecture tour by Bill McKibben & Naomi Klein about climate issues in fall 2012 preceding protests (some involving nonviolent resistance) e.g. against transporting tar-sands oil through the Keystone pipeline. Another possible example: the huge size of the US military compared to all other countries— see Hunt text p. 456..

27 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM Also, according to National Priorities Project, the US spent $812 billion in Iraq in 2003-14. Instead, the US and local governments could—each year--have: a) given 4.75 million students Pell grants of $5550 each; AND b) equipped 4 million households with windpower; AND c) hired 65,000 new police officers; AND d) supplied 5 million veterans with Veterans Admin. Medical care, AND d) paid 100,000 elementary school teachers (www.nationalpriorities.org ).www.nationalpriorities.org

28 ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE PROJECT IN U.S. PRISON

29 ALTERNATIVES TO VIOLENCE COMMUNICATION WORKSHOP IN SOUTH AFRICA

30 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM NOTE about spectrum of activities: AFTER violent conflict, mainstream activities badly needed for reconciliation, rebuilding and preventing future violence (e.g. Healing & Rebuilding Our Communities in Rwanda/Burundi)

31 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR & TERRORISM TWO FINAL QUOTES A Palestinian in Bilin, a village where there are joint Palestinian-Israeli Jewish potests against the Israeli government’s separation wall/fence: “we have a message to the world, that we can build our future home in a nonviolent way” (Kaufman-Lacusta p.224)

32 MASS NONVIOLENCE AS AN ALTERNATIVE TO WAR AND TERRORISM ‘The young Gandhi told S. African Gen. Jan Smuts, “I am going to fight against your government…I am going to win.” Smuts is astonished: “and how are you going to do that?” Gandhi: ”with your help.” Years later, Smuts recounted this meeting, noting…that Gandhi was right.’ (Barash & Webel pp.521-22)


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