August 08, 2006

The "Peace" Movement

TigerHawk has maintained for some time that the so-called "anti-war movement" is actually more like an anti-victory movement. It appears that the trend he noticed is creating some cognitive dissonance for a few genuine peace activists, like Mark LeVine, Professor of Middle East History at UC Irvine. Fretting over the recent petition in the Guardian he wonders:

According to the signers, the best approach is to offer our solidarity and support to the victims of this brutality and to those who mount a resistance against it.

Support for those who mount resistance? What exactly does this mean? Are my heroes Noam and Howard planning to pick up an RPG and start firing southward from the rubble of Qana? Should progressives be donating money to Hamas? Learning to crawl through tunnels and ferry the latest Iranian missiles to the front?

Of course, he hopes these are just ill-chosen words... but:

the ill-chosen (one can hope) words by my illustrious colleagues reflects a very disturbing trend within the Left that has emerged the last few years, and which has come to a head with the latest war: Many leaders of the movement are moving away from the commitment to non-violence that defined the struggle against the Vietnam War and the vast majority of protests against corporate globalization and the invasion of Iraq, and towards embracing violent resistance (think the Red Brigade, Bader Meinhof Gang or the Weather Underground) as a viable, and even the best way to check the capitalist war machine.

I'm actually somewhat gratified to see that at least a few people on the left are primarily interested in peace activism, and have enough sense of mission that the shift toward... something else, motivates them to speak out. I have to say that even though I don't agree with this fellow's premise, his article is still a breath of air in an otherwise suffocating and demoralizing opposition movement.

The natural impulse of most serious people is to abhor violence, and if possible to quell it. But the first mistake, at least for many less idealistic than Dr. LeVine, was to sympathize by default with a murderous and barbaric group pathology. That should not have even entered the picture, but once it had it oughtn't be any wonder that many are catching some form of the disease, even if it only manifests as "ill-chosen words".

Posted by Demosophist at August 8, 2006 11:15 AM