Submitted by Reddebrek on April 29, 2018

[1] Some periodicals limited to the strictly anarchist milieu, such as Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, are not at all pacifist. However, their influence, and the influence of their readership, can be clearly seen as marginal in areas where, otherwise, anarchists have a major impact. At mass mobilizations of the anti-war and anti-globalization movements, in which anarchists are key organizers, criticisms of pacifism are not even entertained; at best, some participants can successfully argue that watered-down forms of direct action really do qualify as nonviolent. Media widely available beyond anarchist circles, in the way progressive media are somewhat available to the mainstream, are almost exclusively pacifist, even when many of the volunteers that keep those media alive are anti-authoritarians who support a diversity of tactics.

[2] Because it may be presumptuous to refer to someone who is not engaged in open conflict with the state as a revolutionary, I define a revolutionary activist as someone who, at the least, is building toward the point when such a conflict is practical. Some people have qualms with the term activist, or associate it with reformist types of activism. To avoid being too particular about words and terminology, I will ask readers simply to receive this term in the best possible way.

[3] This particular list comes from an article written by Spruce Houser (Spruce Houser, “Domestic Anarchist Movement Increasingly Espouses Violence,” Athens News, August 12, 2004,, a peace activist and self-proclaimed anarchist. I have seen these same putative victories declared by other pacifists time and again.

[4] Hell NYC, 2/15: The Day the World Said No to War (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2003). This book gives one a feel for the way peace activists celebrate these protests.

[5] For example, as soon as a pacifist panelist at the anarchist conference mentioned in the introduction was forced to admit that the civil rights struggle did not end victoriously, he changed directions without blinking an eye and blamed the struggle’s failure on militant liberation movements, saying that as the movement became violent, it started to lose ground. This argument ignores the fact that resistance against slavery and racial oppression was militant well before the late 1960s, and also disavows any specific analysis that might, say, correspond an increasing militancy with a decreasing base. Such correlations are factually nonexistent.

[6] Chandrasekhar Azad, who was killed in a shootout with the British, is a focal point of a recent movie, The Last Revolutionary, by Indian director Priyadarshan.

[7] Reeta Sharma, “What if Bhagat Singh Had Lived?” The Tribune of India, March 21, 2001; It is important to note that people across India beseeched Gandhi to ask for the commutation of Bhagat Singh’s death sentence, given for the assassination of a British official, but Gandhi strategically chose not to speak out against the state execution, which many believe he easily could have stopped. Thus was a rival revolutionary removed from the political landscape.

[8] Bose resigned after a conflict with other Indian political leaders, stemming from Gandhi’s opposition to Bose because the latter did not support nonviolence. For more on Indian liberation struggles, read Sumit Sarkar, Modern India: 1885–1947 (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1989).

[9] Professor Gopal K, email to author, September 2004. Gopal also writes, “I have friends in India who still haven’t forgiven Gandhi for this.”

[10] Though the conservatism inherent in any political establishment prevented many Euro/American states from seeing this for some time, neocolonial rule is much more efficient at enriching the colonizer than direct colonial administration, and more efficient at maintaining power, once direct colonialism has successfully effected the necessary political and economic reorganization within the colonies. Liberals within the imperialist states, unfairly characterized as disloyal or unpatriotic, were, in fact, right on the money when they advocated independence for the colonies. George Orwell, Ho Chi Minh, and others have written about the fiscal inefficiency of colonialism. See Ho Chi Minh, “The Failure of French Colonization,” in Ho Chi Minh on Revolution, ed. Bernard Fall (New York: Signet Books, 1967).

[11] India’s neocolonial status is widely documented as part of the expanding body of anti- and alter-globalist literature. See Arundhati Roy, Power Politics (Cambridge: South End Press, 2002) and Vandana Shiva, Stolen Harvest (Cambridge: South End Press, 2000).

[12] The group Direct Action in Canada and the Swiss guerrilla Marco Camenisch are two examples.

[13] See Robert Williams, Negroes with Guns (Chicago: Third World Press, 1962); Kathleen Cleaver and George Katsiaficas, Liberation, Imagination, and the Black Panther Party (New York: Routledge, 2001); and Charles Hamilton and Kwame Ture, Black Power: The Politics of Liberation in America (New York: Random House, 1967).

[14] “Historical Context of the Founding of the Party,” In 1994, Dr. Kenneth Clark, the psychologist whose testimony was instrumental in winning the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court decision, stated that segregation was worse than it had been 40 years prior. Also see Suzzane Goldberg, “US wealth gap grows for ethnic minorities,” The Guardian (UK) October 19, 2004, reprinted in Asheville Global Report, no. 302 (2004) The Pew Hispanic Center, analyzing US Census data, recently found that the average white family has a net worth 11 times greater than that of the average Latino family, and 14 times greater than that of the average black family, and that the disparity is growing.

[15] Mick Dumke, “Running on Race,” ColarLines, Fall 2004, 17–19. This article was written before Barack Obama’s election so I have updated the figure.

[16] “They [the civil rights movement and the black liberation/anti­-colonial movement] rapidly evolved toward armed struggle, with self­-defense leading to armed organizations. Anti-government violence had mass approval and participation.” E. Tani and Kae Sera, False Nationalism, False Internationalism( (Chicago: A Seeds Beneath the Snow Publication, 1985), 94. Also see Mumia Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom (Cambridge: South End Press, 2004), 32, 65.

[17] Flores Alexander Forbes, “Point Number 7: We Want an Immediate End to Police Brutality and the Murder of Black People; Why I Joined the Black Panther Party,” in Police Brutality: An Anthology, ed. Jill Nelson (New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 2000), 237.

[18] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 31.

[19] “[I]f an oppressed people’s pent-up emotions are not nonviolently released, they will be violently released. So let the Negro march....For if his frustrations and despair are allowed to continue piling up, millions of Negroes will seek solace and security in Black nationalist ideologies.” Martin Luther King Jr., quoted in Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 107. Martin Luther King Jr. played up the threat of black revolutionary violence as the likely outcome if the state did not meet his reformist demands, and his organizers often capitalized on riots carried out by militant black activists to put the pacifist black leaders in a more favorable light. See especially Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology (Winnipeg: Arbeiter Ring, 1998), 43.

[20] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 96–104. As King himself said, “The sound of the explosion in Birmingham reached all the way to Washington.”

[21] Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology. Also, for an example, Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, chapter 6.

[22] A pacifist panelist at the North American Anarchist Conference, rejecting the idea that the Vietnamese resistance, and not the peace movement, defeated the US, temporarily confused his moral/tactical position with a racial one by pointing out that it was US troops assassinating their officers that also led to the end of the war.

[23] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 124–125. “Project 100,000” was begun in 1966 at the suggestion of White House adviser Daniel Patrick Moynihan, who, incidentally, hypothesized that the unemployed men targeted for military service were “maladapted” because of “disorganized and matrifocal family life,” while Vietnam represented “a world away from women.” (Interestingly, de,onization of strong black women was eventually insinuated into the Black Power movement itself). Colonel William Cole, commander of an Army recruiting district, said, “President Johnson wanted those guys off the street.”

[24] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 127.

[25] Matthew Rinaldi, Olive-Drab Rebels: Subversion of the US Armed Forces in the Vietnam War, rev. ed. (London: Antagonism Press, 2003), 17.

[26] Ibid., 11–13.

[27] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 117–118.

[28] It is educational to see how the elite themselves perceived the anti-war movement. One rich account comes from Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara in the documentary Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara, directed by Errol Morris, 2003. McNamara clearly expressed being troubled by the protests often held outside his workplace, but with the typical arrogance of a bureaucrat assumed the public didn’t know enough to make policy suggestions. He believed that he too wanted peace, and as a leading government expert he was thus working in the interests of the anti-war protestors.

[29] “Millions Give Dramatic Rebuff to US War Plans,” News, United for Peace and Justice, (accessed October 5, 2006). Originally published by Agence France­-Presse, February 16, 2003.

[30] Excluding Al Sharpton, who was treated (as always) as a pariah.

[31] Sinikka Tarvainen, “Spain’s Aznar Risks All for a War in Iraq,” Deutsche Presse-Agentur, March 11, 2003.

[32] Not only were commentators nearly unanimous in attributing the shift of power directly to the bombings, the Spanish government itself acknowledged the impact of the bombings by trying to cover up Al-Qaida involvement, instead blaming ETA Basque separatists. Members of the government knew that if the bombings were connected in the public mind to Spanish participation in the Iraq occupation, they would lose in the polls, as they did.

[33] Ward Churchill, in using the example of the Holocaust to demonstrate the pathology of pacifism in the face of oppression, cites Raul Hilberg, The Destruction of the European Jews, (Chicago: Quadrangle, 1961) and Isaiah Trunk, Judenrat: The Jewish Councils in Eastern Europe Under Nazi Occupation (New York: Macmillan, 1972). Churchill’s own contributions to the topic, which informed my own, can be found in Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 31–37. He also recommends Bruno Bettleheirri’s Foreword to Miklos Nyiszli, Auschwitz (New York: Fawcett Books, 1960).

[34] The example of the Danes during the Holocaust was used by pacifist anarchist Colman McCarthy at his workshop “Pacifism and Anarchism” at the National Conference on Organized Resistance, American University (Washington, DC), February 4, 2006.

[35] Yehuda Bauer, They Chose Life: Jewish Resistance in the Holocaust (New York: The American Jewish Committee, 1973) 32, 33.

[36] Ibid., 21.

[37] Ibid., 36.

[38] For example, on a listserv of former “prisoners of conscience” with School of the Americas Watch (SOAW), a group that has conducted one of the longest-running campaigns of nonviolent civil disobedience against US foreign policy, one veteran pacifist suggested that if the military was placing more restrictions on protesting outside an Army base that had been targeted by demonstrations, we were doing something wrong, and should take a step back. The same person, representative of a large trend within US pacifism, also objected to calling a protest a “march” instead of a walk (although he claimed to uphold the legacy of King and Gandhi).

[39] Bauer, They Chose Life, 45.

[40] Ibid., 39–40.

[41] Ibid., 39 (regarding Kovno), 41 (regarding France).

[42] Ibid., 47–48.

[43] Ibid., 50.

[44] Ibid., 52–53.

[45] Ibid., 53–54.

[46] One example of the mere threat of popular violence creating change comes from the American Indian Movement (AIM), in Gordon, Nebraska in 1972. An Oglala man, Raymond Yellow Thunder, had been killed by white people whom police refused to arrest (this was a relatively common occurrence). His relatives, fed up with the apathy of the government, called in AIM. Thirteen hundred angry Indians occupied the town of Gordon for three days, threatening: “We’ve come here to Gordon today to secure justice for American Indians and to put Gordon on the map ...and if justice is not immediately forthcoming, we’ll be back to take Gordon off the map.” [Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, Agents of Repression: The FBI’s Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement (Cambridge: South End Press, 1990), 122.] Promptly, the two murderers were arrested, a cop was suspended, and local authorities made some effort to end discrimination against Indians.

[47] See, for example, Malcolm, X, “Twenty Million Black People in a Political, Economic, and Mental Prison,” in Malcolm X: The Last Speeches, ed. Bruce Perry (New York: Pathfinder, 1989), 23–54.

[48] In one conversation I had with a pacifist Mandela was held up as an exemplary person of color and abandoned just as quickly when I mentioned Mandela’s embrace of armed struggle. [Detailed in his autobiography: Nelson Mandela, Long Walk to Freedom: The Autobiography of Nelson Mandela (Boston: Little, Brown, 1995)].

[49] Jack Gilroy, e-mail, January 23, 2006. This particular e-mail was the culmination of a rather sordid conversation on the listserv of a white pacifist group, during which participants discussed a suggested civil rights-style march through the heart of the black South. One person suggested calling it a “walk” instead of a “march,” because “march” constitutes “violent language.” Gilroy asserted, “Of course we are claiming the mantle of Dr. King!” This latter was in response to a criticism made by a black activist, who said that by holding such a march (it was supposed to start in Birmingham or another city of equal symbolism), they were co-opting King’s legacy and would probably offend and alienate black people (given that the organization was predominantly white, downplayed race in its analysis, and focused on oppression occurring abroad while missing, for instance, the fact that the civil rights movement is still continuing at home). The white peace veteran responded in an extremely condescending and insulting way to the criticism, even calling the black activist “boy” and claiming that the pacifist movement was so white because people of color “have not listened, have not taught when they have learned, have not preached from their pulpit ...have not been able to connect to our movement to bring justice to all people of Latin America-which includes millions of people of color.” He finished off the same e-mail by insisting that the fight against injustice “has no color bar.”

[50] Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., interview by Alex Haley, Playboy, January 1965.

[51] Malcolm X, quoted in Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 41. For more of Malcolm X’s then-crucial analysis, see George Breitman, ed., Malcolm X Speaks (New York: Grove Press, 1965).

[52] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 106.

[53] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 262.

[54] Allegations of government involvement in Malcolm X’s assassination are convincingly presented by George Breitman, Herman Porter, and Baxter Smith in The Assassination of Malcolm X (New York: Pathfinder Press, 1976).

[55] Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall, The COINTELPRO Papers: Documents from the FBI’s Secret Wars Against Dissent in the United States (Cambridge: South End Press, 1990).

[56] I know that personally, despite being interested in history and taking advanced placement US history classes throughout my years in some of the better public schools in the nation, I graduated high school knowing little about Malcolm X, other than that he was an “extremist” black Muslim. However, as early as elementary school, I knew quite a bit about Martin Luther King Jr. To be fair, Malcolm X is as important, if not more important, a figure to the civil rights and black liberation movements as King. In subsequent years, my political education in progressive white circles failed to correct either the white-out of Malcolm X or the misleading hagiography of King. It was only upon reading in black activists’ writings of the importance of Malcolm X that I did the necessary research.

[57] Darren Parker, e-mail, July 10, 2004.

[58] Consider the popularity, for instance, of the following quote: “What these white people do not realize is that Negroes who riot have given up on America. When nothing is done to alleviate their plight, this merely confirms the Negroes’ conviction that America is a hopelessly decadent society.” Martin Luther King Jr., “A Testament of Hope” in James Melvin Washington, ed., A Testament of Hope: The Essential Writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. (San Francisco; Harper & Row, 1986), 324.

[59] This sentiment, though it has been expressed by many different people, comes to me most directly from Roger White, Post Colonial Anarchism (Oakland: Jailbreak Press, 2004). White primarily addresses white anarchists’ frequent tendency to shun national liberation movements for not conforming to a particular anarchist ideology. The dynamic is similar to the one created by pacifism, which I describe, and both are more functions of whiteness than any particular ideology. Pacifism has been one stumbling block that has allowed white radicals to control or sabotage liberation movements, but it is by no means the only one. White’s book is worth a read, precisely because militant white anarchists encounter many of the same problems as white pacifists.

[60] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 134–137.

[61] Ibid., 137–161.

[62] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 7.

[63] Personal e-mail to author, December 2003.

[64] David Cortright, “The Power of Nonviolence,” The Nation, February 18, 2002, This article attributes a one-word quote to Cesar Chavez, but it is left to white pacifists to explain the meaning and implementation of nonviolent strategies.

[65] Bob Irwin and Gordon Faison, “Why Nonviolence? Introduction to Theory and Strategy,” Vernal Project, 1978,

[66] Staughton Lvnd and Alice Lynd, Nonviolence in America: A Documentary History (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 1995).

[67] Quotes from white organizers at the time, in Ward Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology. 60–62.

[68] Art Gish, “Violence/Nonviolence” (panel discussion, North American Anarchist Conference, Athens, OH, August 13, 2004).

[69] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 101 — 102.

[70] Belinda Robnett, How Long? How Long? African-American Women in the Struggle for Civil Rights (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997), 184- 186.

[71] Kristian Williams, Our Enemies in Blue (Brooklyn: Soft Skull Press, 2004), 87.

[72] Ibid., 266.

[73] Keith McHenry, e-mail, international Food Not Bombs listserv, April 20, 2006.

[74] Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (New York: Grove Press, 1963), 86.

[75] Ibid., 94.

[76] Darren Parker, e-mail, July 10, 2004.

[77] Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 188.

[78] Some of the most dedicated nonviolent activists in the US have faced torture and murder in the course of Latin American solidarity work. But this is not quite the same thing as what activists of color face within the US, given that these white activists have faced violence in a situation they sought out rather than one imposed on them, their families, and their communities. It is, after all, much easier to have a martyr complex for oneself than for one’s family (which is not to say that all of these activists were motivated by such a complex, though I have certainly met a few who cash in that risk to claim that they have experienced oppression rivaling that felt by people of color).

[79] Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 60–61.

[80] David Gilbert, No Surrender: Writings from an Anti-Imperialist Political Prisoner (Montreal: Abraham Guillen Press, 2004), 22–23.

[81] Alice Woldt, quoted in Chris McGann, “Peace Movement Could Find Itself Fighting Over Tactics,” Seattle Post-Intelligencer, February 21, 2003,

[82] E-mail to author, October 2004. This same activist paternalistically rewrote the history of black liberation to declare that the Black Panthers did not advocate violence. In the same e-mail, he quoted from Sun Tzu’s Art of War to bolster his case and improve his tactical sophistication. Whether Sun Tzu would have agreed with his theories’ being used in an argument for the efficacy of pacifism is questionable.

[83] E-mail to author, October 2004.

[84] David Dellinger, “The Black Rebellions,” in Revolutionary Nonviolence: Essays by David Dellinger (New York: Anchor, 1971), 207. In the same essay, Dellinger admits that “there are occasions when those who act nonviolently themselves must become reluctant allies or critical supporters of those who resort to violence.”

[85] Gilbert, No Surrender, 23.

[86] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 76.

[87] Belinda Robnett points out that by becoming more militant and adopting a Black Power ideology, previously nonviolent groups such as SNCC “led liberal financial supporters [presumably mostly white] to stop contributing.” This loss of mainstream funding led in part to the collapse of the organization (Robnett, How Long? 184–186). Robnett, however, equates the abandonment of nonviolence with machismo. Reflecting her academic status (as a sociology professor in the University of California system), she blurs the line between FBI-paid provocateurs advocating sexism within the movement (for example, Ron Karenga) and legitimate activists advocating increased militancy, or legitimate activists who did, in fact, confuse militancy with machismo. She also mentions that Angela Davis complained about being criticized by militant black nationalists “for doing a ‘man’s job’” (Robnett, How Long? 183), but she neglects to mention that Davis was highly influential in advocating militant struggle. Robnett also seems to neglect mentioning how problematic it is when groups with such radical agendas as racial equality are not self-sustaining and instead rely on the support of the federal government and white donors.

[88] On February 9, 2006, a member of the nonviolent group SOA Watch (which attracts support from a range of groups, from progressives to anarchists) suggested on an e-mail list that because police had been dealing with the annual demonstration outside Fort Benning in Georgia more aggressively in recent years, the group should move the demonstration into some public place away from the military base to avoid confrontation. He wrote, “Wherever polarization takes place, it’s time, in my opinion, for the peace campaign to re-evaluate its tactics. Relationships are at the core of peacemaking. ‘We’ and ‘Them’ can lead ultimately to war. ‘Us’ has a better chance for achieving negotiable (nonviolent) solutions and can lead ultimately to a culture of peace.”

[89] In one recent example, flyers being passed out by the thousands at the protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention claimed that anyone advocating violence was likely a police agent.

[90] Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 94–99, 64–77. In the case of Jonathan Jackson, it seems that the FBI and police instigated the entire plot in an attempt to assassinate the most militant California Panthers. They encouraged a hostage-taking at the Marin County courthouse, but only because they were prepared with a large team of sharpshooters ready to neutralize the militants. Yet “not taking the bait” (this phrase is used as though all advocates of militancy are provocateurs — a dangerous, and potentially violent, charge that has been leveled against many) will not keep anyone safe. FBI informer William O’Neal encouraged the Illinois Panthers, whom he had infiltrated, to take part in such bizarre plots as obtaining nerve gas or an airplane to bomb city hall. When they would not, the FBI went ahead and assassinated Panther leadet Fred Hampton anyway.

[91] Two good books about the COINTELPRO repression ate Churchill and Vander Wall’s Agents of Repression and Abu-Jamal’s We Want Freedom. On similar repression abroad, read William Blum, Killing Hope: US Military and CIA Interventions since World War II (Monroe, Maine: Common Courage Press, 1995).

[92] The repression of the ELF, termed the “Green Scare,” and the imprisonment of the Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC) activists were widely reported in radical and environmental media. See, for example, Brian Evans, “Two ELF Members Plead Guilty to 2001 Arson,” Asheville Global Report, no. 404 (October 12, 2006):; and “The SHAC 7,”

[93] A May 3, 2006, search of the archives of two leftist, nonmilitant independent-media websites, Common Dreams and AlterNet, revealed the predicted disparity. I searched for two phrases, the “Thomas Merton Center” and “Filiberto Ojeda Rios.” The first search for the Thomas Merton Center for Peace and Justice, one of the targets of a relatively nonintrusive campaign through which the FBI surveilled peace groups, as revealed by ACLU investigations early in 2006, brought up 23 articles on Common Dreams and five on AlterNet. The search on Filiberro Ojeda Rios, a former leader of the Macheteros, a group within the Puerto Rican independence movement, who was assassinated by the FBI on September 23, 2005, brought up one article on Common Dreams and zero on AlterNet. Although few people on the mainland showed any concern, tens of thousands of Puerto Ricans marched in San Juan to protest the killing. Those two websites contained considerably fewer articles on the waves of violent FBI raids against Puerto Rican independence activists occurring in February 2006 than on the revelation, publicized at about the same time, that the FBI in Texas was spying on the predominantly white group Food Not Bombs as part of its counterterrorism activities. For coverage of the spying on the white peace activists, see “Punished for Pacifism,” Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio, March 15, 2006. For coverage of the FBI assassination and subsequent raids in Puerto Rico, see the “September 30th Newsbriefs” (2005) and “February 28th Newsbriefs” (2006) on SignalFire, Both events were covered by Indymedia Puerto Rico (for example, CMI­-PR, “Fuerza Bruta Imperialista Allana Hogar de Compañera, Militantes Boricuas le Dan lo Suyo,” Indymedia Puerto Rico, February 10, 2006,

[94] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 262–263.

[95] Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 364.

[96] Federal Bureau of Investigation, FBI Intelligence Bulletin No. 89 (October 15, 2003). Available online at

[97] Ibid.

[98] Greg White, “US Military Planting Stories in Iraqi Newspapers,” Asheville Global Report, no. 360 (December 7, 2005):

[99] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 61–62.

[100] William Cran, “88 Seconds in Greensboro,” Frontline, PBS, January 24, 1983.

[101] “American Legion Declares War on Peace Movement,” Democracy Now, Pacifica Radio, August 25,2005. At the American Legion’s national convention in 2005, the 3-million-strong organization voted to use whatever means necessary to end “public protest” and ensure “the united backing” of the US population for the War on Terror.

[102] During and after World War I, the American Legion was an important paramilitary force in helping the government repress anti-war activists and labor organizers, particularly the Wobblies (IWW, Industrial Workers of the World). In 1919, in Centralia, Washington, they castrated and lynched Wesley Everest of the IWW.

[103] Glenn Thrush, “Protest a ‘Privilege,’ Mayor Bloomberg Says,” NY Newsday, August 17, 2004, Commenting on the protests against the 2004 Republican National Convention in NYC, Mayor Bloomberg called free speech a privilege that can be taken away if abused. There are numerous other incidents of officials being so candid, and a whole history of episodes involving the government’s denial of free speech and other civil and human rights when they interfered with the smooth functioning of authority.

[104] This includes legislated restrictions of “free speech,” from the Alien and Sedition Acts of the 18th century to the Espionage Act of World War I; institutional powers such as the ability of governors or the president to declare martial law, or the emergency powers of FEMA and other agencies; and discretionary activities such as the surveillance and neutralization activities of the FBI under COINTELPRO or the USA PATRIOT Act.

[105] Jennifer Steinhauer, “Just Keep It Peaceful, Protesters; New York Is Offering Discounts,” New York Times, August 18, 2004,

[106] Allan Dowd, “New Protests as Time Runs Out for WTO,” The Herald (Glasgow), December 3, 1999, 14.

[107] Cortright, “The Power of Nonviolence.” I came across this article as a photocopy distributed and praised by a self-identified anarchist pacifist.

[108] Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 281–284.

[109] Ibid., 285.

[110] Some might argue that a revolutionary movement that was misogynistic or racist could not use the right of self-determination as an excuse. The obvious counterarguments are that a) equating self-defense with misogyny or racism hardly amounts to a moral stance, and b) viewing violence as an immoral, chosen activity is simplistic and inaccurate. Submitting to the violence of oppression is at least as repugnant as killing one’s oppressors (if our morality requires us to view killing enslavers as repugnant), and nonviolent privileged people benefit from, and are thus complicit in, the violence of oppression. Thus, the pretension that pacifists can justifiably condemn the violence of oppressed people with whom they might otherwise ally themselves is both silly and hypocritical.

[111] Irwin and Faison, “Why Nonviolence?” 7, 9.

[112] Cortright, “The Power of Nonviolence.”

[113] To read more on the evolution of the state’s view of social control, see Williams, Our Enemies in Blue.

[114] There were some minor instances of fighting back against police, but it was all in retreat. Anarchists had internalized the idea that only police could initiate violence, so if they did fight, it was only on the run. For a good compilation of information on the anti-FTAA protests in Miami, especially with regard to the traumatizing effects on many protestors, see The Miami Mode!: A Guide to the Events Surrounding the FTAA Ministerial in Miami, November 20–21, 2003 (Decentralized publication and distribution, 2003). For more information, write to [email protected].

[115] Wolfi Landstreicher, “Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention,” Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, no. 58 (Fall-Winter 2004): 56. The two following quotes in the paragraph are from the same page. Landstreicher recommends Albania: Laboratory of Subversion (London: Elephant Editions, 1999).
Available online at Archives/Mirrors/Class_Against_Class/albania.html.

[116] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 124.

[117] For more on patriarchy, I highly recommend the works of bell hooks, as well as Kate Bornstein (for example, Gender Outlaw) and Leslie Feinberg (for example, Transgender Warriors). Also, from a historical, anthropological approach, Gerda Lerner’s The Creation of Patriarchy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986) has good information, though Lerner largely limits herself to a binary perspective of gender, accepting two gender categories as natural, and thus missing the first and most important step in the creation of patriarchy, which is the creation of two rigid gender categories. Interesting information correcting this omission can be found in Moira Donald and Linda Hurcombe, eds., Representations of Gender from Prehistory to Present (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 2000).

[118] The latter strategy has been applied successfully by numerous anti-authoritarian societies throughout history, including the Igbo of present day Nigeria. For that example, see Judith Van Allen, “‘Sitting on a Man,’ Colonialism and the Lost Political Institutions of Igbo Women,” Canadian Journal of African Studies, vol. 2, (1972): 211–219.

[119] For more on restorative justice, a “needs-based” form of dealing with social harm through healing and reconciliation (thus, a concept of justice suited for dealing with the many “crimes” that are rooted in patriarchy), see Larry Tifft, Battering of Women: The Failure of Intervention and the Case for Prevention (Boulder: Westview Press, 1993) and Dennis Sullivan and Larry Tifft, Restorative Justice: Healing the Foundations of Our Everyday Lives (Monsey, NY: Willow Tree Press, 2001).

[120] bell hooks presents a more complex analysis, dealing also with the violence of women, in several books including The Will to Change: Men, Masculinity, and Love (New York: Atria Books, 2004). However, the women’s violence that hooks discusses is not a political, conscious violence directed against the agents of patriarchy, but, rather, an impulsive displacement of abuse aimed at children and others lower in the social hierarchy. This is one example of a true cycle of violence, which pacifists assume to be the only form of violence. And while all traumatic forms of violence cycle (that is, have successive ramifications as people maladaptively react to the trauma of the initial violence), revolutionary activists argue that all violent hierarchies are held together by systematic deployments of downward violence, the originators of which should and must be incapacitated. The world is not a level playing field on which violence rebounds consistently, evenly originating from and affecting people who are equal in power and responsibility. To be more specific, if women organized collectively to forcefully attack and oppose rapists, specific rapes would be prevented, the trauma of past rapes would be exorcised in a constructive and empowering way, men would be denied the option of raping with impunity, and future rapes would be discouraged. Or, for another example, urban blacks and Latinos who carry out guerrilla attacks against police would not encourage a cycle of police violence. Police do not kill people of color because they have been traumatized by past violence; they do so because the white supremacist system requires it and because they are paid to. Revolutionary activity will, of course, result in increased state repression, but that is an obstacle that must be surpassed in the destruction of the state, which is the greatest purveyor of violence. After the destruction of the state, of capitalism, and of patriarchal structures, people will still be traumatized, will still have authoritarian and patriarchal viewpoints, but individual problems that are not structurally reinforced can be addressed in cooperative, nonviolent ways. Armies cannot be.

[121] For example, Robin Morgan, The Demon Lover: On the Sexuality of Terrorism (New York: W.W. Norton, 1989). The Rock Block Collective’s pamphlet, Stick it to the Manarchy (Decentralized publication and distribution, 2001), makes valid criticisms against machismo in white anarchist circles, but suggests that militancy itself is macho, and that women, people of color, and other oppressed groups are somehow too fragile to participate in violent revolution.

[122] Laina Tanglewood, “Against the Masculinization of Militancy,” quoted in Ashen Ruins, Against the Corpse Machine: Defininga Post-Leftist Anarchist Critique of Violence (Decentralized publication and distribution, April 2002). Full text available at

[123] Ibid.

[124] Sue Daniels, e-mail, September 2004. For more on women’s self­ defense, Daniels recommends Martha McCaughey, Real Knockouts: The Physical Feminism of Women’s Self-Defense (New York: New York University Press, 1997).

[125] The Will to Win! Women and Self-Defense is an anonymous pamphlet distributed by Jacksonville Anarchist Black Cross (4204 Herschel Street, #20, Jacksonville, FL 32210).

[126] The staid pacifist dictum that “change must come from within” is not to be confused with self-criticism. Functionally, such a philosophy only incapacitates people from challenging the system and fighting structural oppressions; it is analogous to the Christian notion of sin, as a barrier to rebellion and other collective action against oppression. In the few instances that the “change from within” principle means more than a simple commitment to nonviolence, it is an impotent form of self­ improvement that pretends social oppressions are the result of widespread personality failures that can be overcome without the removal of external forces. The self-improvement of anti-oppression activists, on the other hand, is an admission that the external forces (that is, the structures of oppression) influence even those who fight against them. Thus, dealing with the effects is a fitting complement to fighting the causes. Rather than act as a complement, pacifist self-improvement tries to be a replacement.

[127] “Be the change you wish to see in the world” or “Embody the change...” are common pacifist slogans that can be found on at least a couple of placards at any major peace protest in the US.

[128] Personal e-mail to author, December 2003.

[129] Cortright, “The Power of Nonviolence.”

[130] Robnett, How Long? 87, 166, 95.

[131] The story of Bayard Rustin’s having to leave the SCLC because Rustin was gay can be found in Jervis Andersen, Bayard Rustin: The Troubles I’ve Seen (New York: HarperCollins Publishers, 1997) and in David Dellinger, From Yale to Jail: The Life Story of a Moral Dissenter (New York: Pantheon Books, 1993).

[132] However, people whose strategy relies on the formation of parties or similar centralized organizations, whether revolutionary or pacifist, also have an interest in muting self-criticism. But revolutionary activists of today demonstrate a marked trend away from political parties, unions, and other organizations that develop an ego, orthodoxy, and interest of their own.

[133] Robnett, How Long? 93–96.

[134] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 161.

[135] Ibid., 159.

[136] Ibid.

[137] Julieta Paredes, “An Interview with Mujeres Creando,” in Quiet Rumours: An Anarcha·Feminist Reader,
ed. Dark Star Collective (Edinburgh: AK Press, 2002), 111–112.

[138] Leslie Feinberg, “Leslie Feinberg Interviews Sylvia Rivera,” Workers World, July 2, 1998,

[139] Ann Hansen, Direct Action: Memoirs of an Urban Guerrilla, (Toronto: Between The Lines, 2002), 471.

[140] Emma Goldman, “The Tragedy of Woman’s Emancipation,” in Quiet Rumours, ed. Dark Star Collective, 89.

[141] Paul Avrich, Anarchist Portraits (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1988), 218.

[142] Yael, “Anna Mae Haunts the FBI,” Earth First! Journal, July-August 2003: 51.

[143] Ibid.

[144] “Interview with Rote Zora,” in Quiet Rumours, ed. Dark Star Collective, 102.

[145] Ibid., 105.

[146] For the sexism of the Weather Underground, see Tani and Sera, False Nationalism; and Dan Berger, Outlaws of America: The Weather Underground and the Politics of Solidarity (Oakland, CA: AK Press, 2005). For the Red Brigades’ opposition to feminism, which they denounced wholesale as bourgeois rather than embracing its radical edges, see Chris Aronson Beck et al., “Strike One to Educate One Hundred”: The Rise of the Red Brigades in Italy in the 1960s-1970s (Chicago: Seeds Beneath the Snow, 1986).

[147] Carol Flinders, “Nonviolence: Does Gender Matter?” Peace Power: Journal of Nonviolence and Conflict Transformation, vol. 2, no. 2 (summer 2006); Flinders uses this exact example of Gandhi, even praising the innate pacifism of “devout Hindu wives.”

[148] Ibid.

[149] For those unfamiliar with the term, something that is “gender­ essentializing” assumes that gender is not a social construct or even a useful though imperfect division, but a set of inherent categories with unchanging and even deterministic essences.

[150] Flinders, “Nonviolence: Does Gender Matter?”

[151] Patrizia Longo, “Feminism and Nonviolence: A Relational Model,” The Gandhi Institute,

[152] “Feminism and Nonviolence Discussion,” February and March 1998, (accessed October 18, 2006).

[153] I have encountered this same formulation from at least three different nonviolent activists, including young environmentalists and old peace activists. I do not know if they all got the idea from a similar source or if they came up with it independently, but this glorification of capitulation certainly arises logically from their position.

[154] Stephen Bender provides this extract from Bernays’s book in his article “Propaganda, Public Relations, and the Not-So-New Dark Age,” LiP, winter 2006: 25.

[155] Ibid., 26.

[156] For more on the propaganda theory of media, see Noam Chomsky and Edward Herman, Manufacturing Consent: The Political Economy of the Mass Media (New York: Pantheon Books, 1998) and Noam Chomsky, Necessary Illusions (Boston: South End Press, 1989). As the Iraqi insurgency grew in the months after President Bush declared major combat operations over, a number of CIA officials and Pentagon brass began defecting, publicly making statements that can be divided into three themes, all obviously centered around concerns of US hegemony: the invasion was poorly prepared, it is hurting our image abroad, or it is stretching our military to a breaking point.

[157] Anyone familiar with independent media should know of several examples of both independent and pirate radio stations’ being shut down by the FCC (as well as federal criminalization of independent radio in the last few years, leading to an expansion of what is considered “pirate”). For articles detailing individual cases of government repression of these radio stations see: “Pirate Radio Station Back On San Diego Airwaves,” Infoshop News, January 6, 2006 and Emily Pyle, “The Death and Life of Free Radio,” The Austin Chronicle, June 22, 2001. There is also the well­ known fight between KPFA and Pacifica Radio, in which the
corporate owner was the proxy repressor for the state.

[158] Indymedia has been a primary target for this repression. The archive of the central Indymedia site ( probably contains the most comprehensive documentation of state repression of various Indymedia sites across the globe. In the US, Sherman Austin, anarchist webmaster of the successful revolutionary site Raise the Fist, was imprisoned for one year on bogus charges. As of this writing, he is on probation and prohibited from using the internet. The federal government shut down his website.

[159] Kalle Lasn’s Culture Jam (New York: Quill, 2000) is flagrant in the reckless optimism with which it assumes that the dissemination of simple ideas can change society.

[160] Unlike the state socialist media of the USSR, which enjoyed little credibility among its own cynical population, corporate media must be a total media system that enjoys the illusion of being above political propaganda. So if people on their way to work see a peaceful protest but hear nothing of that peaceful protest on the news, nothing is amiss. People outside the movement need little convincing that such a protest is irrelevant to them; thus, news editors can pretend they are responding to the demands of their audience. But if people on their way to work see a riot, or find out that a bomb has exploded outside a bank, and they can find no references to these occurrences in the mainstream media, they will be inclined to look elsewhere and to question what else the media is hiding. One of the reasons the corporate democratic system is a more effective totalitarian model than the one-party authoritarian state is that it has to respond to emergencies rather than ignore them.

[161] Russian anarchists around the time of the 1905 revolution funded their massive propaganda drives and agitational leafletting with expropriations­ armed robberies of the owning class. Paul Avrich, The Russian Anarchists (Oakland: AK Press, 2005), 44–48, 62. By combining education with militant tactics, otherwise impoverished people were able to buy printing presses and reach a mass audience with anarchist ideas.

[162] John Tutino, From Insurrection to Revolution in Mexico: Social Bases of Agrarian Violence, 1750–1940 (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1986), 6.

[163] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 61.

[164] More recently, SOAW has finally made some headway by working with Latin American regimes. Several Left-leaning governments in South America, namely Venezuela, Uruguay, and Argentina, agreed to stop sending soldiers and officers to the SOA. This is another example of pacifists having to rely on governments, which are coercive institutions, to accomplish their objectives. Specifically, they are dealing with governments that have challenged the “Washington Consensus” and, thus, have less interest in getting their troops trained by the US. However, these governments have all been active in stomping on popular movements, by methods including suppressing dissident media and killing protestors. Because these governments have arisen from the authoritarian Left they have co-opted and fragmented rebellion. The end result is the same as when they were more closely aligned with Washington: control. It would also be useful to note that in some of these cases, notably in Argentina, militant social movements played a major role in toppling the prior US-aligned administrations and allowing the election of Leftist governments.

[165] Beck et al., “Strike One to Educate One Hundred,” 190–193.

[166] David Graeber, Fragments of an Anarchist Anthropology (Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press, 2004). Anarchist and, not coincidentally, academic David Graeber suggests that, in addition to creating alternatives in the form of “international institutions” and “local and regional forms of self­ governance,” we should deprive states of their substance by removing “their capacity to inspire terror” (63). To accomplish this, he suggests that we “pretend nothing has changed, allow official state representatives to keep their dignity, even show up at their offices and fill out a form now and then, but otherwise, ignore them” (64). Curiously, he offers the vague examples of a couple of societies in Madagascar still dominated and exploited by neocolonial regimes as evidence that this pseudostrategy could somehow work.

[167] Penny McCall-Howard, “Argentina’s Factories: Now Producing Revolution,” Left Turn, no. 7 (October/November 2002):; and Michael Albert, “Argentine Self-Management,” ZNet, November 3, 2005,

[168] I do not wish to portray repression as an automatic thing. Sometimes the authorities do not notice something like an anarchist community center, and, more often, they choose to contain it rather than roll it back. But hard or soft, they do draw a line beyond which they will not let us pass without a fight.

[169] Rick Rowley, The Fourth World War (Big Noise, 2003). Also see my critique of this film, “The Fourth World War: A Review,” available on

[170] Ian Traynor, “US Campaign Behind the Turmoil in Kiev,” Guardian UK, November 26, 2004,,,1360080,00.html.

[171] Williams, Our Enemies in Blue.

[172] “Internal conflicts are another major source of vulnerability within the movement.” Randy Borum and Chuck Tilbv, “Anarchist Direct Actions: A Challenge for Law Enforcement,” Studies in Conflict and Terrorism, no. 28 (2005): 219. The police themselves salivate over such backstabbing.

[173] Quoted in Fifth Estate, no. 370 (fall 2005): 34.

[174] George W. Bush, “Address to a Joint Session of Congress” (speech, United States Capitol, Washington, DC, September 20, 2001);

[175] At the time of this writing, more than a dozen alleged members of the Earth Liberation Front (ELF) and the Animal Liberation Front (ALF) have been arrested after the FBI infiltrated the radical environmental movement. They have been threatened with life sentences for simple arsons, and, under this tremendous pressure, many have agreed to snitch for the government. Six activists with Stop Huntingdon Animal Cruelty (SHAC), a group that waged a successful and aggressive boycott against a company that tested on animals, were charged in March 2006 under the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act and recently imprisoned for several years. Rodney Coronado, a longtime environmental and indigenous activist and former ELF prisoner, was just sent back to prison merely for giving a workshop that encouraged radical environmentalism and included information about how he built the incendiary device used in the attack for which he was already imprisoned.

[176] Williams, Our Enemies in Blue, 201.

[177] JH, “World War 1: The Chicago Trial,” Fifth Estate, no. 370 (fall 2005): 24.

[178] JH, “Sabotage,” Fifth Estate, no. 370 (fall 2005): 22.

[179] JH, “World War 1: The Chicago Trial,” 24.

[180] Paul Avrich, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 153, 165.

[181] The Galleanists were a group of anarchists centered around a paper published by Luigi Galleani. Though they were influenced by Galleani’s brand of anarchism, they did not appoint him leader or actually name themselves after him. The label “Galleanist” is primarily one of convenience.

[182] Paul Avrich, Sacco and Vanzetti: The Anarchist Background, 127.

[183] Ibid., 207.

[184] Ibid., 127.

[185] Ibid., 147.

[186] Ibid., 209.

[187] Ibid., 211.

[188] Ibid., 213.

[189] Lon Savage, Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920–21 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990).

[190] Borum and Tilby, “Anarchist Direct Actions,” 220.

[191] As of January 2006, 88 percent of Sunnis in Iraq and 41 percent of Shiites admit that they approve of attacks on US-led forces (Editor & Publisher, “Half of Iraqis Back Attacks on US,” reprinted in Asheville Global Report, no. 369 [February 9–15, 2006]: It is possible that, given the climate of political repression in Iraq, the actual percentages are higher but many did not wish to disclose their support for the insurgency to pollsters. In August 2005, 82 percent of Iraqis said they “strongly oppose” the presence of occupation troops, according to a secret British military poll that was leaked to the press. The same percentage reported that they wanted US troops out of their country in a May 2004 poll taken by the Coalition Provisional Authority (Thomas E. Ricks, “82 Percent of Iraqis Oppose US Occupation,” Washington Post (May 13, 2004): protest!iraq/2004/0513poll.htm. However, these days it is hard to talk about an Iraqi resistance, because Western media coverage would have us believe the only thing going on is the sectarian bombing of civilians. The strong possibility exists that these bombings are orchestrated by the occupiers, though from our current vantage we really cannot know what is going on in the resistance. Suffice it to say, most Iraqi resistance groups have taken a position against killing civilians, and it is to these groups that I refer. I wrote more on the possibility of US involvement in sectarian killings in “An Anarchist Critique of the Iraq War,” available on

[192] Martin Oppenheimer, The Urban Guerrilla (Chicago: Quadrangle Books, 1969), 141–142.

[193] Michael Nagler, The Steps of Nonviolence (New York: The Fellowship of Reconciliation, 1999), Introduction. Anything other than nonviolence is portrayed to be the result of “fear and anger ...potentially damaging emotions.”

[194] Irwin and Faison, “Why Nonviolence?”

[195] Ibid.

[196] Tani and Sera, False Nationalism, 167.

[197] George Jackson, Blood In My Eye (Baltimore: Black Classics Press, 1990).

[198] Abu-Jamal, We Want Freedom, 105.

[199] Kuwasi Balagoon, A Soldier’s Story: Writings of a Revolutionary New Afrikan Anarchist (Montreal: Solidarity, 2001), 28, 30, 72.

[200] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 249–251
[201] “Active resistance occurs when activists use force against the police... or proactively engage in illegal activity such as vandalism, sabotage, or property damage.” This sentence appears in Borum and Tilby, “Anarchist Direct Actions,” 211. The authors, one a professor and one a former police chief, include sit-ins and the like as passive resistance.

[202] I am referring to the black bloc as a militant tactic, not to punk fashion blocs that wear all black but in the end act passively. Real black blocs are becoming less common in the US.

[203] Spruce Houser, “Violence/Nonviolence” panel discussion. Houser is a self-proclaimed anarchist and pacifist.

[204] Houser, “Domestic Anarchist Movement Increasingly Espouses Violence,” In true pacifist form, Houser submitted his article to the Athens News in preparation for the coming North American Anarchist Conference, in an attempt to bolster pacifism by turning local public opinion against the “violent anarchists.” He meekly protests the fact that his article was turned by the corporate media into propaganda against the entire anarchist movement with a handwritten note, scrawled on the many photocopies of the article he handed out, stating that his original title was “Anarchism and Violence,” but the editor changed it.

[205] Burt Green, “The Meaning of Tiananmen,” Anarchy: A Journal of Desire Armed, no. 58 (Fall-Winter 2004): 44.

[206] Judith Kohler, “Antiwar Nuns Sentenced to 2 1/2 Years,” Associated Press, July 25, 2003. I won’t begrudge anyone the use of any trial strategy she deems appropriate, but, in this case, the nuns’ argument truthfully reflects the fact that they did not cause any real, physical destruction to the missile facility, when they certainly had an opportunity to cause such destruction.

[207] A third possible definition might try to draw a line, based on common sense, through the potential candidates for violence. If we lived in a needs­ based political economy, common sense would recognize people’s need to defend themselves and live free of oppression; thus, revolutionary action toward the goal of a society in which everyone could achieve their needs could not be considered violent. Because we live in a society in which our concept of justice is based on punishment, which is to say that the behavior of just people is the avoidance of transgression, common sense recognizes paying taxes (to an imperialist state) to be nonviolent, while paying a contract killer is considered violent. Though both actions have similar results, it is certainly easier to expect people not to commit the latter action (which requires taking initiative) and permit them to commit the former action (which is just going along with the flow). In such a society (for example, ours), pacifism really is passivism because not committing violence really has more to do with avoiding culpability than with taking responsibility.

[208] Todd Allin Morman, “Revolutionary Violence and the Future Anarchist Order,” Social Anarchism, no. 38 (2005): 30–38.

[209] Ibid., 34.

[210] Ibid., 35.

[211] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 306.

[212] Churchill and Vander Wall, Agents of Repression, 103–106.

[213] This is what academic anarchist Howard Ehrlich advised in his keynote address to the North American Anarchist Convergence in Athens, Ohio, August 14, 2004.

[214] Quoted in a video clip included in Sam Green and Bill Siegel, director/producer, The Weather Underground (The Free History Project, 2003). As for the flexibility of Gandhi’s commitment to nonviolence, his words on Palestinian resistance are informative: “I wish they had chosen the way of non-violence in resisting what they rightly regard as an unacceptable encroachment upon their country. But according to the accepted canons of right and wrong, nothing can be said against the Arab resistance in the face of overwhelming odds.” Jews for Justice in the Middle East, The Origin of the Palestine·Israel Conflict, 3m ed. (Berkeley: Jews for Justice in the Middle East, 2001). The authors cite Martin Buber and Paul R. Mendes­ Flohr, A Land of Two Peoples (New York: Oxford University Press, 1983).

[215] Nonviolent activists frequently rely on the media to disseminate their point. I have already mentioned multiple examples involving protests. For another example: On January 31, 2006, an activist on a listserv for the supposedly radical anti-authoritarian group Food Not Bombs posted a suggestion for an action during President Bush’s State of the Union address. The suggestion was for thousands of people to Google the phrase “Impeach Bush” during his speech. Supposedly, the corporate media would pick up on this factoid and begin publicizing it rather than their typical surface analysis of how well Bush presented himself in his speech. Needless to say, no such thing occurred.

[216] Malcolm X had this to say about Gandhian notions of universal brotherhood and love: “My belief in brotherhood would never restrain me in any way from protecting myself in a society from a people whose disrespect for brotherhood makes them feel inclined to put my neck on a tree at the end of a rope.” Perry, Malcolm X: The Last Speeches, 88.

[217] For example, my acquantances in prison were conservative in condemning the “DC Sniper” and even hoping that the perpetrator would get the death penalty. But when an off-duty FBI agent was added to the list of sniper victims, they all expressed immense satisfaction.

[218] Ashen Ruins, Against the Corpse Machine. 31. Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 54.

[219] A prime example is Stephen Salisbury and Mark Fineman, “Deep Down at Graterford: Jo-Jo Bowen and ‘The Hole,’”, The Philadelphia Inquirer, vol. 305, no. 121, November 8, 1981, A1. The first six paragraphs of the article are all about Joseph Bowen and his experiences in the Hole, including numerous quotes from Bowen and personalizing descriptions that portray him as he speaks — the reader is thus brought into the prison right next to him. The eight paragraph begins, “But Joseph Bowen also forced those negotiators — and thus, the world on the streets outside — to see more than a three-time murderer with new-found power. Through negotiator Chuck Stone and the media that covered every nuance of his five-day siege, Bowen also forced the outside world to confront the realities of another world — a world of institutions he and thousands of other inmates in Pennsylvania perceive as oppressive and racist, robbing human beings of not only their dignity, but, sometimes, their lives.”

[220] Churchill, Pacifism as Pathology, 70–75.

[221] To confirm the prevalence of this mindset among anti-SOA pacifists, and to hear these preposterous claims repeated ad nauseam, one need only attend the yearly vigil outside Fort Benning, home of the SOA.

[222] Eating meat and paying taxes are perhaps self-explanatory. Research into aluminum production (and the concomitant of hydro-electric dam construction), auto-factory conditions, air pollution caused by internal combustion engines, the level of fatalities incurred as a matter of course by a car culture, and the way in which industrialized nations procure their petroleum will reveal why driving a car is a violent activity, enough so that we cannot take seriously a moral pacifist who drives a car. Eating tofu, in the current economy, is integrally connected to the use of disposable immigrant labor, genetic modifications of soy and the resulting destruction of ecosystems and food cultures, and the ability of the United States to undermine subsistence-farming cultures around the world, fueling globalization with the threat and reality of starvation. Paying rent supports property owners who will throw a family out into the streets if they cannot make payments in time, who invest in ecocidal development and urban sprawl, and who assist in the gentrifying of cities, with attendant violence levied against homeless people, people of color, and low-income families. Being nice to a cop contributes to the masochist culture of worship that allows agents of law and order to beat and murder people with impunity. It is a striking historical peculiarity that allows police to enjoy broad popular support, and even think of themselves as heroes, when it used to be that they were well known as scum and lackeys of the ruling class.

[223] Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth, 54.

[224] “We are at war....” Art Burton (keynote address, People United, Afton, VA, June 19,2004). Burton was a member of the Richmond NAACP. The Zapatistas describe the current world order as the Fourth World War, and this sentiment has been echoed across the globe.

[225] Helen Woodson and my former codefendant and cellmate Jerry Zawada come to mind as committed, pacifist revolutionaries.

[226] Though this particular quote is my own wording, the argument it represents comes frequently from the mouths of nonviolent activists. Todd Allin Morman begins his article “Revolutionary Violence and the Future Anarchist Order” by pointing out that none of the violent revolutions in the United States, Russia, China, or Cuba “has led to a just society, a free society or even to a ‘workers’ paradise” (30).

[227] I am judging the Leninists’ motivations by the aims and actions of their leaders — as members of an authoritarian organization, the rank­-and-file demonstrably prioritized following the leaders over their own intentions, good or bad. The aims and actions of the Leninist leadership, from the very beginning, included improving and expanding the Tsarist secret police, reconstituted as the Cheka; forcibly converting millions of independent peasants into wage laborers; blocking direct barter between producers; instituting stark wage hierarchies between officers and soldiers Tsarist officers; taking in the military, which was composed largely of ex-Tsarist officers, taking over, centralizing, and ultimately destroying the independent workers’ “soviets,” or councils; seeking and accepting development loans from British and American capitalists; bargaining and collaborating with imperialist powers at the end of World War I; repressing the activism and publications of anarchists and social revolutionaries; and more. See Alexander Berkman, The Bolshevik Myth (London: Freedom Press, 1989), Alexandre Skirda, Nestor Makhno, Anarchy’s Cossack: The Struggle for Free Soviets in the Ukraine 1917–1921 (Oakland: AK Press, 2004), and Voline, The Unknown Revolution (Montreal: Black Rose, 2004).

[228] A good history of this movement can be found in Alexandre Skirda, Nestor Makhno, Anarchy’s Cossack.

[229] In their article written for police strategists, “Anarchist Direct Actions,” Randy Borum and Chuck Tilbv point out that in some cases decentralization has left anarchists isolated and more vulnerable to repression, though on the whole it is clear that decentralization makes radical groups harder to infiltrate and repress; communication, coordination, and solidarity are the critical components for the survival of decentralized networks. Borum and Tilbv, “Anarchist Direct Actions,” 203–223.

[230] Without autonomy, there can be no freedom. For a basic introduction to these and other anarchist principles, see Errico Malatesta, Anarchy (London: Freedom Press, 1920); or Peter Kropotkin, Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1921). A good article containing thoughts on an anarchist revolutionary process similar to the one I have phrased is Wolfi Landstreicher’s “Autonomous Self-Organization and Anarchist Intervention.” Also, Roger White’s Post Colonial Anarchism provides a number of important arguments for the right of each community and nation to autonomously identify itself and choose its method of struggle.

[231] For example, the Black Liberation Army, one of the more successful urban guerrilla groups in the US, failed in large part for want of an above­ ground support structure, according to Jalil Muntaqim, We Are Our Own Liberators (Montreal: Abraham Guillen Press, 2002), 37–38. On the other hand, the anarchist insurgent army led by Makhno in Ukraine could sustain effective guerrilla warfare against the immensely larger and better­ armed Red Army for so long precisely because it enjoyed a great deal of support from the peasantry, who hid and tended wounded insurgents, provided food and supplies, and collected information on enemy positions. Skirda, Makhno, Anarchy’s Cossack, 248, 254–255.

[232] John Sayles, “Foreword,” in Lon Savage’s Thunder in the Mountains: The West Virginia Mine War, 1920–21 (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 1990).