Liz's Reviews > Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America

Pacifism as Pathology by Ward Churchill
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Jul 23, 07

Recommended for: Hippies who feel cheated out of a revolution and want to know why
Read in July, 2007

This most recent edition of Ward Churchill's essay "Pacifism as Pathology" includes not only the original text, but three additional essays/reflections on Churchill's work, by other authors.
I can't explain how valuable, necessary and timely this collection is. Churchill's essay is a poignant and scathing description of how major pacifict movements have not only failed to fulfill any meaningful political agenda, but have only served to protect those in power while undermining those who they claim to act in solidarity with.
Churchill gives several in-depth reviews of the pacifist movements most western activists are familiar with, including Ghandi's pacifism toward British invasion, Martin Luther King Junior's pacificm toward segregation, American pacifism toward the Vietnam War, and even Jewish pacifism to the Nazi regime.
With each analysis, he carefully provides an airtight account of how the behavior of pacifism has damaged the struggle of the oppressed, and uplifted the oppressors. Furthermore, he debunks major pacifist claims of victory as either false, or really belonging to those working in underground cells practicing violent uprising (The Black Panthers for example)
Also debunked are many popular pacifist theories like "violence beges more violence" and "if you just explain everything the right way, people will understand their error and stop doing X Y or Z because you have proven them morally indefensible."
Churchill provides strong and provocative evidence that pacifism is a tool used only to maintain the status quo, while providing a dangerous and counter-revolutionary blanket of righteousness for those who practice it, further undermining those facing real peril.
I would recommend this book for every single person alive today, especially those in comfortable bubbles within developed nations who still believe that a healthy debate or public symposium is the best way to attack a problem.
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