Posts Tagged ‘nonviolence’
* Don’t Sanitize Nelson Mandela: He’s Honored Now, But Was Hated Then. Apartheid’s Useful Idiots. History Needs to Be Honest. The National Review, American Conservatism, and Nelson Mandela. Six Things Nelson Mandela Believed That Most People Won’t Talk About. The Island. Mandela will never, ever be your minstrel. Some reservations about non-violent resistance. Mandela and the Pistons. The inevitable Žižek. Be Nelson Mandela.
* Great moments in legal absurdism: Unarmed Man Is Charged With Wounding Bystanders Shot by Police Near Times Square.
* And the US has drawn an epically bad World Cup group. Well, there’s always 2018…
* Well, it was nice while it lasted: Guatemalan Court Overturns Genocide Conviction of Ex-Dictator.
* One of 500. Come for the thoughtful and reflective essay, stay for the shit-stirring, dickish comments…
* How the US Turned Three Pacifists into Violent Terrorists. The headline is a bit misleading; this is about word games prosecutors play.
* It’s damn cold in Chicago: water is freezing to the sides of burning buildings.
- According to this link (which has information I cannot independently verify), the athletic budget for 2011 was $16 million, a 9.2% increase over the previous year. $9 million of that budget came from student fees.
- The reduction in faculty is expected to save $5.2 million.
* Lynda Barry’s course at the University of Wisconsin. I should be taking this.
* Liberal pundits and Republican congressmen agree: Barack Obama’s second inaugural was the most liberal speech of his presidency. They may be right. But just what kind of liberalism is this?
Obama’s speech was a far cry from the message of the modern Republican Party. But much of it would fit snugly in a handbook from Human Relations: Discrimination will not be tolerated. Active citizenship is everyone’s responsibility. Work harder.
* Dr. King would be proud to see our Global Strike team – comprised of Airmen, civilians and contractors from every race, creed, background and religion – standing side-by-side ensuring the most powerful weapons in the US arsenal remain the credible bedrock of our national defense. Would he, though? Would he really?
* Cheat to win: Virginia wants to rig the Electoral College too.
In addition to disenfranchising voters in dense areas, this would end the principle of “one person, one vote.” If Ohio operated under this scheme, for example, Obama would have received just 22 percent of the electoral votes, despite winning 52 percent of the popular vote in the state…
It’s also worth noting, again, that this constitutes a massive disenfranchisement of African American and other nonwhite voters, who tend to cluster near urban areas. When you couple this with the move on Monday to redraw the state’s electoral maps — eliminating one state senate district and packing black voters into another, diluting their strength — it’s as if Virginia Republicans are responding to Obama’s repeat victory in the state by building an electoral facsimile of Jim Crow.
* Brain scans performed on five former NFL players revealed images of the protein that causes football-related brain damage — the first time researchers have identified signs of the crippling disease in living players. The impending death of pro football. See also: Junior Seau’s Family Is Suing The NFL.
* There’s a gold rush going on right now. Man is breaking the earth, looking for natural gas — just as we always have. It’s a mad scene, with hucksters on every side of the issue. And that’s just on the surface. You won’t believe what’s happening underground. Thank You for Fracking.
* Rejected movie ideas: Age-Reversed Home Alone Reboot.
* Internet argument perfect storm: The woman who hired a hitman to murder her abusive husband.
* War machine decides blood is blood: Pentagon Lifts Ban on Women in Combat.
* And from the too-good-to-check file: The Fascinating Business Cards of 20 Famous People.
“Non-violence” takes a distinction created by the state (between violence and non-violence) and then applies this moralistically to the tactics of the movement, such that any stepping outside of these boundaries becomes, not a disagreement about tactics, but an occasion for condemnation (this reminds me of re-reading King’s “Letter From Birmingham Jail” recently, and being struck by the way in which King puts forward a clearly moral position without seeming to me to be moralistic; I’m interested in tring to figure out exactly where the distinction lies). The situation where “non-violent” activists cooperate with the state in condemning their supposed comrades is not accidental, but flows directly from their philosophy; it is to the credit of those non-violent activists who refuse to do this that they put solidarity ahead of their philosophy.
“I remember my surprise and amusement, the first time I met activists from the April 6 Youth Movement from Egypt, when the issue of non-violence came up. “Of course we were non-violent,” said one of the original organizers, a young man of liberal politics who actually worked at a bank. “No one ever used firearms, or anything like that. We never did anything more militant than throwing rocks!”
* In an 8-1 vote, the City Council of Greensboro, North Carolina approved a resolution opposing a proposed constitutional amendment that would ban any legal recognition of same-sex couples. Greensboro joins Raleigh and Chapel Hill all in opposition to Amendment 1, which comes to a vote on May 8. The Durham City Council opposes the measure too.
* In an interesting piece at An und für sich, Adam Kotsko tries to dive beneath the politics and explain just why it is the Catholic hierarchy is so interested in birth control.
I propose that the answer can be found in a historic compromise set forth by one of the most influential thinkers you’ve never heard of: namely, Clement of Alexandria, a second-century Christian philosopher.
* From David Graeber—Concerning the Violent Peace-Police: An Open Letter to Chris Hedges.
Surely you must recognize, when it’s laid out in this fashion, that this is precisely the sort of language and argument that, historically, has been invoked by those encouraging one group of people to physically attack, ethnically cleanse, or exterminate another—in fact, the sort of language and argument that is almost never invoked in any other circumstance. After all, if a group is made up exclusively of violent fanatics who cannot be reasoned with, intent on our destruction, what else can we really do? This is the language of violence in its purest form. Far more than “fuck the police.” To see this kind of language employed by someone who claims to be speaking in the name of non-violence is genuinely extraordinary.
* Facebook has found a way to make money from its new Timeline feature less than five months after launching it, repackaging what people “listen” to, “watch,” and “read” into ads and delivering them to their friends.
* Tomorrow’s TV Tropes today: my friend @drbluman finds another example of Sitcom Entropy, the inexorable law of nature that shows how sitcoms degrade in quality over time.
* And James Fallows attempts to explain Obama.
This is the central mystery of his performance as a candidate and a president. Has Obama in office been anything like the chess master he seemed in the campaign, whose placid veneer masked an ability to think 10 moves ahead, at which point his adversaries would belatedly recognize that they had lost long ago? Or has he been revealed as just a pawn—a guy who got lucky as a campaigner but is now pushed around by political opponents who outwit him and economic trends that overwhelm him?
I want to suggest, though, that the myth about Gandhi develops in the same way that it develops about Martin Luther King so that we as a movement internalize the lesson that’s most beneficial for the 1% of society. That lesson is as follows: that we fail as movements because we are violent, not because they are; that we ought not to talk about openly defending ourselves against their violence, even though they are prepared to and talk all the time about using brutal force against us, as we saw in Oakland just last weekend; that we as a movement should police ourselves and focus on internal divisions, which they happen to sow; and we should continue to believe that the reasons they hold on to power, wealth, oppression, and arms is because we are not sufficiently pious, humble, or meek.
* Courting King’s disapproval, Adam Kotsko questions nonviolence as a tactic.
In such a context, I’m not sure how effective non-violent methods can really be. They presuppose a level of decency and shame that I’m not sure our militarized police forces possess, at the end of the day. If they did, they wouldn’t show up with riot gear in response to what amounts to a bunch of people kind of hanging out. They wouldn’t use property damage as an excuse to exercise collective punishment. More specifically in this case: they wouldn’t arrest people who are trying to close their bank accounts.
* Freddie deBoer: Blogging is a system of control.
* Derek Slater: No I’m Not Going to Law School.
* American schools are more segregated by race and class today than they were on the day Martin Luther King, Jr. was killed, 43 years ago. The average white child in America attends a school that is 77 percent white, and where just 32 percent of the student body lives in poverty. The average black child attends a school that is 59 percent poor but only 29 percent white. The typical Latino kid is similarly segregated; his school is 57 percent poor and 27 percent white. Via MeFi.
So we compartmentalize the non-violence message, much as we compartmentalize books about Dr. King and the movement in that section of the bookstore established for African American History; much as we have compartmentalized those streets named for the man: locating them only in the blackest and often poorest parts of town.
Were this tendency to render King divisible on multiple levels — abstracting non-violence from justice, colorblindness from racial equity, and public service from radical social transformation — merely an academic matter, it would hardly merit our concern. But its impact is greater than that. Our only hope as a society is to see the connections between the issues King was addressing and our current predicament, to see that what affects part of the whole affects the greater body, to understand that racism and racial inequity must be of concern to us all, because they pose risks to us all.
* But let us never forget that the civil rights movement was completely unnecessary in the first place; a “truly free market” would have ended segregation on its own.
* Why we can’t have nice things: Jon Hamm is just too damn old to play Superman.
* When assassins get results: Arizona law could force Gabrielle Giffords out of her seat within months.
* The Edge Question 2011: What scientific concept would improve everyone’s toolkit? There are some good nominations, but for a twenty-first century civilization teetering on the brink of ecological suicide there’s only one right answer: TANSTAAFL.
* Towns for losers: the highway’s jammed with broken heroes fleeing the ruins of New Jersey. Let’s hope Chris Christie isn’t next to make the big move to D.C.