Peace, not violence, will help save the planet

I was deeply disturbed reading Carlito Pablo’s article [“Deep Green Resistance rises”, January 3-10]. One of its organizers says nonviolent environmental groups have “a fairly dismal track record in terms of the actual destruction that they’ve prevented”.

This is patently untrue. Take the efforts to save the Carmanah Valley, the Stein Valley, the Great Bear Rainforest, Britannia Beach, et cetera. Nonviolence in the long run works; look to Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

The alternative is violence, which should be called as it is: a criminal act. And it has other consequences, such as turning off public support for green issues and causing injury and even death to innocent bystanders, including workers.

They criticize Joe Foy. He has made achievements protecting B.C.’s environment that these guys can only dream of.

If anything, Foy and the mainstream green activists should speak out more strongly against this mistaken path, since it is a threat to the whole movement.

Think of the many large, peaceful marches against globalization in which a few masked anarchists break some windows and get all the press. The peace and environmental movements have to find ways to isolate these people for the good of their causes. One way is to clearly speak out against them.

> Ian Waddell / Vancouver


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Jagdeep Singh Mangat

Jan 25, 2013 at 1:41pm

Mr. Waddell makes a number of serious factual errors in his letter to the Straight. In attempting to underline his point that "Nonviolence in the long run works" he uses the examples of Mohandas Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., and Nelson Mandela.

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for his role, amongst other things, in forming MK (Spear of the Nation), the armed wing of the African National Congress. It must be noted that the South African apartheid state made clear it was willing to release Mandela at any time during his nearly three decades of imprisonment if, at any time, he renounced the use of violence. He refused, effectively keeping himself imprisoned as a matter of principle.

Martin Luther King Jr. stated that he "would be nowhere without Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party". A proper understanding of the successes and limitations of the civil rights movements and the state of race relations in the United States is inseparable of an understanding of the threat of revolutionary coercion in the context of the Cold War.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the departure of imperial England from South Asia was not brought about by Gandhian non-violence alone. One only has to look at the activities of the Ghadr Party, the Indian National Army, the Hindustan Socialist Republican Army and other militant groups in South Asia to understand that solely passive political activity was not the basis of the departure of the colonialists but that the activities of these militant organizations was an integral part of the process. Rather, it could be argued that Gandhi and his methods delayed the departure of the English for decades enabling the continued plunder of the subcontinent. It is instrumental for all to familiarize themselves with the debates between Bhagat Singh and Gandhi. Bhagat Singh posed the question to Gandhi as to what the difference would be between switching white rulers in suits for brown rulers in suits without changing the social structure in India. Today, violence continues against the poor and oppressed of India. For the vast majority of the populace nothing changed at all. In fact, Gandhi's "friends" - the monied elites such as the Tata family - rule over an empire of their own in which they live in astounding wealth while hundreds of millions languish in abject poverty and misery.

Blind pacifism is dogmatic.

53 8Rating: +45

Jagdeep Singh Mangat

Jan 25, 2013 at 2:02pm

My response, above, is not, nor should it be construed as an endorsement of violence as a means of political activity

Regular Joe

Jan 29, 2013 at 12:14am

Ian Waddell's response to a radical resistance, which he has shown here to have little knowledge about, is to be expected. The beneficiaries and "entitled" of this great colonization, of what was once free indigenous territories, continue to reap the gains of violence through their ignorance and reluctance to acknowledge and repair what has and continues to be a totalitarian occupation.

Joe Schmoe

Jun 28, 2013 at 9:39pm

Ummm... Can we say that violence is appropriate in some circumstances and not in others? I would tend to say that armed struggle is not really appropriate in a democracy where there are political avenues of change, and it is probably doomed. Similiarly, I don't really think that anarchist window breakers are in the same category as the Spear of the Nation, which was a military organization with clear and obtainable political goals. What does an anarchist who smashes windows want? Who knows? Who cares?

Jaaggi mangat

Nov 25, 2013 at 11:53am

Voilence is not good for any religion or any country I know only all that.keep love and peace.stay happy,try to make someone happy each other because this life and world both so beautiful.violence always bring problems that's all.keep peace.