(STAUGHTON LYND GIVES US THE HISTORY. FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW HIM, PLEASE LEARN. he’s 82, has been there through everything with soul intact and enlarged and shared with all who meet him.)
“While I have all my life been personally committed to nonviolence, I have never attempted to impose this personal belief on movements in which I took part. Perhaps this is because as an historian I perceive certain situations for which I have not been able to imagine a nonviolent resolution.
The most challenging of these is slavery. At the time of the American Revolution there were about 600,000 slaves in the British colonies that became the United States. In the Civil War, more than 600,000 Union and Confederate soldiers were killed. It was literally true that, as President Lincoln put it in his Second Inaugural Address, every drop of blood drawn by the lash had to be “sunk” (repaid) by a drop of blood drawn by the sword.
Similarly, I cannot imagine telling Zapatistas that they should not be prepared to defend themselves if attacked by the Mexican army or paramilitaries. I believe that self-defense in these circumstances meets the criteria for a “just” use of violence set out by Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador in his Pastoral Letters.
My fundamental concern is that the rhetoric of the Occupy Movement includes two propositions in tension with each other. We appear to say, on the one hand, that we must seek consensus, but on the other hand, that once a General Assembly is over individuals and grouplets are free to do their own thing.”