A reader’s response To “Nonviolent direct action and the early IWW”

A response to an article that appeared in the December 2013 IW about the IWW and 'nonviolent direct action'.

If Stephen Thornton’s article on nonviolence in the early IWW (“Nonviolent Direct Action And The Early IWW,” December 2013 Industrial Worker, page 11) was meant as an argument in favor of nonviolence being or becoming a “strategy” (his term) of the IWW, it deserves a response.

The death of CND as performed by the Grosvenor Square demonstrators under the direction of themselves alone - Solidarity

Police attempt to block demonstrators entering Grosvenor Square, March 1968

Solidarity compare and contrast an orderly CND Aldermaston march with the militant Grosvenor Square riot against the Vietnam war and critique pacifism as a method for social change.

Readers should note the back page of this pamphlet has an offensive cartoon which we are reproducing for reference only.

First published in 1968 as Solidarity pamphlet 28

Concerning the violent peace-police: an open letter to Chris Hedges

David Graeber's response to Chris Hedges' anti-black bloc article.

I am writing this on the premise that you are a well-meaning person who wishes Occupy Wall Street to succeed. I am also writing as someone who was deeply involved in the early stages of planning Occupy in New York.

Baby, We’re All Anarchists Now - Malcolm Harris

Malcolm Harris writes about some of the emerging conflicts between anti-authoritarians and self-appointed leaders of the #Occupy Movement.

I got a certain amount of shit for cosigning this Cimethinc. “Letter from Anarchists” to occupiers, but what really strikes me is that anarchists and occupiers have become two distinct–albeit overlapping–groups. It’s become even more apparent in the streets.

State of emergency and self-defense: an imaginary interview with Gunther Anders

In this bitterly sardonic “imaginary interview” written in 1986 at the crest of the anti-nuclear protest movement in Germany, Günther Anders—best known in the United States for his 1961 book about the atomic bombing of Hiroshima (Burning Conscience)—explains his rejection of pacifism and dogmatic non-violence under the permanent “State of Emergency” of the nuclear age, ridiculing the theatrical protest tactics (“happenings”) of the anti-nuclear movement of the 1980s, evoking the right to self-defense as enshrined in international and ecclesiastical law and comparing today’s political and military leaders to those whose crimes led to the 60 million dead of WW2.

State of Emergency and Self-Defense: An Imaginary Interview with Günther Anders – Günther Anders

1. The End of Pacifism

Imaginary Interviewer (Int): We heard a rumor that you object to being called a “pacifist”. I am sure you will understand that we are disturbed and even shocked by this rumor.

Vietnam: Socialism or pacifism? - John Sullivan

Article written by John Sullivan, expert on Spanish politics and famous for his satirical pieces on the British left in 1966. This article is significant because it demonstrates the plurality of views within Solidarity and was also written during the group's move away from 'the peace milieu'.

As the war in Vietnam increasingly becomes a central issue, the uneasy alliance between socialist and pacifists which has been a feature of political life during the past few years must inevitably disintegrate.

A shadow of glorious (though strange) good things to come: The Ranters and libertarian communism in the English civil war

An image commemorating the Diggers

An examination of the Ranters, one of the most radical groups to emerge during the English Civil War. Taken from issue 74 of Organise!, the Anarchist Federation's magazine.

[i]The English Civil War (1641-1651) was a time unprecedented in English history.

1919-1946: Gandhi and the national liberation of India

Gandhi - non-violent freedom fighter?

A critical examination of the 'saint' of non-violence, Mahatma Gandhi, and his role in the 'liberation' of India.

Mahatma Gandhi is often cited by pacifists as the shining example of how non-violent civil disobedience works successfully. Unfortunately, these paeans of praise leave out a close study of Gandhi’s role in the Indian struggle for ‘independence’, and just as importantly, who were his class allies in that struggle.

Two Caricatures of Anarchism: Or Tolstoy Revisited

This review appeared in Black Flag in 1991.

Government is Violence: Essays on Anarchism and Pacifism, by Leo Tolstoy (as edited by David Stephens) Phoenix Press