The sixth chapter of The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace contains Scott Nearing‘s 1919 closing argument in defense against criminal charges under the Espionage Act for printing pamphlets that were allegedly in “obstruction to the recruiting and enlistment service of the United States.” during World War I. The speech is re-printed from his book The Trial of Scott Nearing and the American Socialist Society.
Nearing starts out by defining his pacifism in opposition to the District Attorney’s attempt to define him as a proponent of violence. He sees pacifism — his opposition to all wars — as a natural human impulse that he shares with the majority of citizens. He describes WWI as a waste of “twenty million lives and a hundred and eighty billions of wealth.” Nearing explains that the danger of war is that it is built on forces that are destructive to civilization: “fear and hate“. civilization is destroyed because causing one person to kill another destroys “a man’s soul.”
Nearing makes clear that he is not indicted for his being””a student of public affairs“, a Socialist nor a pacifist. He insists that the judge will charge the jury with the information that Nearing has the right to speak out against a law he considers wrong. And that is what he bases his defense upon:
I may be wrong, utterly wrong, and nobody listen to me, nobody pay attention to me. I have a right to express my opinion.
The judge in the case dismissed the conspiracy charges. The jury found Nearing “not guilty” of the other two charges against him. The Socialist Society was found guilty of two charges and fined $3000. Continue reading Nearing’s Defense of the Constitutional Right to Dissent 10/24/11
We continue from last week with the The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace provides us with the Peace Book Chapter of the Week. As you remember we discussed last week the introduction by Howard Zinn titled Retaliation. We now move to the first section of the book which is entitled: Pre-Twentieth Century. The first, very short chapter is written by the Buddha, and is entitled: Let a Man Overcome Anger by Love.
For hatred does not cease
by hatred at any time,
hatred ceases by love
The reading starts with a series of aphorisms about how you are bound by what you put forth. It reminds me of the saying that slavery chains both the master and the slave. Or Gandhi’s response about how he was trying to save England by freeing it from holding India in bondage. The third set of aphorisms set here as a pull quote remind me strongly of Dr. King’s August 16, 1967 “Where Do We Go From Here?” when he spoke out against poverty: Continue reading Power of Nonviolence Buddhist Anger: Peace Book Chapter 1 of the Week 9/19/11
The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace provides us with the Peace Book Chapter of the Week. You might have noticed this a slightly different concept. Duke Augustus is paring down the Book of the Week to just a chapter to make it more interactive. We hope that you will join in a discussion of the book as we move through it together chapter-by-chapter. Please post your thoughts, reactions, comments, corrections and additions to the comment section of each of these posts.
War is terrorism,
magnified a hundred times.
Normally, Duke Augustus would give an introduction a cursory discussion, and begin the first discussion of the book, but when the Introduction is written by the late Howard Zinn attention must be paid. Zinn is primarily know as a historian whose best selling A People’s History of the United States is an antidote to the sanitized grade school history. Duke Augustus is particularly partial to the graphic novel adaption, A People’s History of American Empire. Zinn’s Introduction to The Power of Nonviolence is even more important to discuss considering that the opening lines are so amazingly timely: Continue reading Power of Nonviolence Zinn-troduction: Peace Book Chapter of the Week 9/12/11