Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
Had a long day (part of it at the anti-Bush, anti-war demo in San Francisco today, it was bloody hot in the City).  So I can't comment very intelligently right now, but am reading Schell's The Unconquerable World which -- though frustrating at times -- offers some interesting thoughts on the relationship between force and politics in war, the divergence (from Clausewitz on) of the high-tech "imperialists' war" and the low-tech "people's war," and the role of ideology or politics in each.  I am not quite halfway through the book yet so am not sure where Schell is going -- a synopsis of the life of Gandhi was the last section I read.

At any rate the RAF or B-M-gang I guess represents the Maoist train of thought, that violence must be wholly subordinate to the political agenda, and a highly developed political agenda is something more easily claimed by the college educated... I feel instinctively that there is some salient different between e.g. a lynch mob and the targeted outrages of the RAF and similar terrorist cells, but both share a fundamental notion of warfare:  that brute force and terror are the final arbiters of victory (I am stealing this outright from Schell).  And it appears that both (and the massive set-piece military deployments in which the US and USSR specialised and the US still does, which share this same belief) are futile.  The RAF killed some people and did some damage, but the elite or ruling class is still in power.  What did they achieve?  Can they really be said to have accomplished anything more than the Yanks did in Viet Nam working on the same theory (brute force and terror applied in sufficient quantity leads to victory)?

Unfortunately for Schell's argument, many of Gandhi's achievements were also ultimately rendered futile... I'm waiting to see how he deals with the apparently equal futility of nonviolent means of social change.

The difference between theory and practise in practise ...

by DeAnander (de_at_daclarke_dot_org) on Sun Sep 25th, 2005 at 01:28:53 AM EST

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