Tuesday, April 04, 2006

A Response to Scott Ritter

Much as I admire Scott Ritter's work to end the war in Iraq, I could not disagree more with his recent post, The Art of War for the anti-war movement . It sure goes to show that you can take the man out of the army, but you can't take the army out of the man.

As an active Green Party member and student of nonviolence, I question many of his assertions and premises. It does not dilute the anti-war message to tie it to other messages--it IS tied to other messages. The centralized, hierarchical approach to planning is what the global war machine is all about. It will not work to oppose it with a centralized, hierarchical approach.

It will not work because a centralized, hierarchical structure is the core of the system we are opposing. It is the structure that put us into war. It is the philosophical antithesis of what we are working for. As a practical strategy, it would be the easiest type of structure to co-opt. All that needs to be done is to corrupt the people at the top of the hierarchy. This has happened to alternative movements in the past that were organized hierarchically.

In his book The Politics of Nonviolent Action, Gene Sharp says, "Nonviolent action tends to turn the opponent's violence and repression against his own power position, weakening it and at the same time strengthening the nonviolent group. Because violent action and nonviolent action possess quite different mechanisms, and induce differing forces of change in the society, the opponent's repression. . . can never really come to grips with the kind of power wielded by the nonviolent actionists." ( Part II. Pp. 111-113). Sharp compares this approach to the martial art of jiu-jitsu--in which the violent party loses its balance when confronted with nonviolent opposition.

1 comment:

Zoe Una said...

Hello Ms. Treichler

Do you know what “The Art of War" is? It’s very interesting. If you do not know the art of war, then you don’t know what you are dealing with. If you don’t know what you are dealing with, then you can never win.

Debbie Rodriguez