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(en) Freedom 6405 8 Mar, 2003 - Limits of non-violence

From Worker <a-infos-en@ainfos.ca>
Date Sat, 12 Apr 2003 10:45:00 +0200 (CEST)


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Dave Rolstone says "the British didn't liberate India,
the Indians did" ('Tactics for fighting imperialism',
22nd February). But this isn't entirely true. Although
the non-violence movement did play a major part in
British withdrawal, the most crucial part in India's
liberation was the election of a Labour government in
Britain, the majority of whose MPs were members of,
or sympathetic to, the Movement for Colonial
Freedom (which still exists, under the title
Liberation). Founded by Fenner Brockway, this
movement's declared aim was independence for
Britain's imperial colonies, starting with India.
If the Tories under Churchill had won the 1945
election, there's no doubt that the non-violence
movement would have been dealt with in very short
order, like its counterpart in Vietnam ('French
Indo-China', as it was known at the time). In 1936, a
'Long March' by the non-violence movement there
was massacred by French bombing as it approached
Saigon.

The Tories would have executed Indian leaders
Ghandi and Nehru summarily, as well as Jinnah, the
founder of Pakistan, and unleashed all of Britain's
wartime conscription army against the Indians. The
most probable outcome would have been a protracted
guerrilla war, and British withdrawal would only have
taken place after an Indian equivalent of Dien Bien
Phu (the site of a Vietnamese victory over France in
1954). Partition between American and Soviet zones
would have followed, and a thirty-year war between
them.

Likewise, although the non-violence movement in the
United States played its part in ending segregation,
the major factor was the US government's need to
stop the newly independent African former colonies
from falling into the Soviet camp. The Russians had
thoughtfully provided all the African embassies in
Moscow with television sets, so they could watch the
brutally violent suppression of American freedom
marchers on the nightly news.

Certainly the Sheriff's Deputies, State Troopers and
National Guardsman in Alabama and Mississippi had
no scruples about cracking the skulls, spilling the
blood and splattering the brains of black children.
But they didn't allow for the panic when the
ambassador to Moscow phoned the White House to
say he'd just seen events in the Deep South on
Russian television, and didn't they realise that every
African ambassador in Moscow was watching it?
Brave as the resistance of Palestinian children is, I
wouldn't give too much for its chances so long as the
Israeli army continues to receive high-tech weaponry
from America and Europe, courtesy of the
fundamentalist Christian politicians in the Bible
Belt, who believe that, unless Israel survives, the
Second Coming of Christ will never take place.
Keith J. Ackermann

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