Blogger David Swanson has penned the first full-length analysis of the Anti-American Manifesto.
Swanson likes my analysis of the situation:
Rall’s book is packed with great analysis of our current state and appropriate moral outrage. I highly recommend it for the clear-eyed survey of the tides in this giant pot of slowly boiling water where we float and kick about like frogs.
But he takes issue with me on the issue of violence:
From these statements, scattered throughout the manifesto, one would have no idea that anyone else believed there was a third choice beyond violence or doing nothing. There is no indication here of the role of nonviolence in evicting the British from India or overthrowing the ruler of El Salvador in 1944, or even in ending Jim Crow in the United States and Apartheid in South Africa, in the popular removal of the ruler of the Philippines in 1986, in the largely nonviolent Iranian Revolution of 1979, in the dismantling of the Soviet Union in Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Czechoslovakia, and East Germany, in the resistance to a stolen election in the Ukraine in 2004-2005, and in hundreds of other examples from around the world.
The thing is, all of the events mentioned above involved violence on the part of the oppressed against their oppressors. Yes, those who carried out violent acts against the British had the non-violent Ghandi as an ally—but that doesn’t make the Indian independence movement a non-violent one.
I share with Rall his concern that people think they have no choices and his conviction that something must be done. If it were impossible to organize committed, independent, uncorrupted nonviolent resistance with the dedication necessary to succeed, if violence were our only option, we’d certainly have to look into it. But I suspect organized violence would be even harder to bring forth than organized nonviolence. Rall attempts no argument to the contrary. He predicts a hellish nightmare with or without his violent revolution. I predict peace, sustainability, and justice if we nonviolently resist. A deeper debate is needed.
Certainly, a deeper debate is needed. A debate that, before the publication of this book, was not occurring. So, in a sense, I already feel proud of my work.
As for the prediction of peace, etc. as the result of nonviolent resistance—well, it’s never worked before.