Pacifism as Pathology

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Pacifism as Pathology: Notes on an American Pseudopraxis is an essay written in 1986 by Ward Churchill. It examines the role of pacifist politics within United States leftism. The essay takes a critical stance of pacifist doctrine, labelling it as ineffective, hypocritical and unconsciously racist.[1]

In 1998 Arbeiter Ring Publishing published the essay in a book entitled Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America and listing Churchill as the author. (ISBN 1-894037-07-3) The book included a preface by Ed Mead, a new introduction by Churchill "'Pacifism as Pathology' Revisited: Excavating a Debate" and a commentary by Mike Ryan "On Ward Churchill's 'Pacifism as Pathology': Toward a Revolutionary Practice."

In 2001 George Lakey, a co-founder of the pacifist Movement for a New Society, published a detailed response to Pacifism as Pathology entitled "Nonviolent Action as the Sword that Heals: Challenging Ward Churchill's 'Pacifism As Pathology'."[2]

In a Z Magazine column Churchill replies to criticism from a number of parties, assailing "the outright lie that I have actively sought to incite 'violent revolution.' I have done no such thing. To the contrary, what I have consistently advocated over the years is the rule of law." He also states: “I would vastly prefer that this happen through nonviolent means. However, I cannot say that nonviolence is the only legitimate response to systemic violence.”[3]


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