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  5. Non-violent actions? I have my doubts


 
-- Februari 11 2012 --

Non-violent actions? I have my doubts.

I failed to find the number of killed, wounded and arrested protesters who took part in Civil Rights Demonstrations based on the Christian-Gandhian non-violence principles. There must have been tens of thousands. On the Civil Rights Memorial are the names of 39 people who were killed between 1954 to 1968.

MLK propagated aggressive non-violence, “acting in such a way that the opponents use violence”. In the famous Selma to Montgomery marches in 1965 (the peak of the Civil Rights Movement) marches were even organised at night so violent response of the police was assured. The damage of this NV-policy to protesters was immense. The Danville Movement of 1963 was worn down by mass arrests, wounded and killed marchers. Only after ten years sentences against six demonstration leaders were suspended. (The killer of Jimmie Lee Jackson in 1965 who was the direct cause of the Montgomery marches was sentenced to six months in prison in 2007). The first Selma-Montgomery march was qualified as “Bloody Sunday”.

I find this unacceptable. Any action must confirm to the basic idea that damage to the 99% must be minimal and pressure on the 1% maximal. MalcolmX said from MLK that he not propagated that blacks shouldn’t fight each other but that they shouldn’t fight back and shouldn’t fight the white man.

An interesting study is Black Radicals and the Civil Rights Mainstream (1954-1970) by Herbert H. Haines. He says that “in any movement moderates express fears that the behaviour of “radical fringes” would undermine the legitimacy of more reasonable leaders”. But in his study he comes to the conclusion that “the turmoil which the militants created was indispensable to black progress …. Black radicalisation had the effect of enhancing the bargaining position of mainstream civil rights groups”.

Joost van Steenis (downwithelite@gmail.com)



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