Histories of Alliance

There is a long history of activists committed to nonviolent principles trying to find common cause with those on the same side of their struggle who choose violent means. I published an academic essay about this last year, and have written a more popular version in light of Charlottesville for Truthout. This new version lacks some of the subtlety and complexity of the original (and I’d prefer a different title), but the point remains the same: those of us who oppose all forms of violence (by individuals, or the state, or corporations, and in forms personal or systemic or environmental) have to be able to hold alliances with people who engage in violent acts who share our ultimate aims of ending the ongoing violence of racism, fascism, environmental destruction, and other forms of oppression. We can oppose violence without opposing each other, this long history teaches us. These two pieces explore the tradition of this position from William Lloyd Garrison to Gandhi to Du Bois to MLK to clergy today.