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Friday, December 20, 2013
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The idea of Independence
The historical coincidence of the US Civil Rights March on Washington, which took place a mere year after our independence in 1962, is interesting. One striking contrast between the two events is the ideas that drove them.
David Brooks, in the New York Times of August 26, outlined the ideas that propelled the civil rights movement. He wrote: “They wanted a set of tactics that were at once more aggressive and at the same time deeply rooted in biblical teaching. That meant the tactics had to start with love, not hate; nonviolence, not violence; renunciation, not self-indulgence.”
According to the movement’s architect, A Philip Randolph, the strategy would “absorb the violence, absorb the terrorism, to face the music and to take whatever comes.”
However, continued Brooks: “It was not just turning the other cheek, loving your enemies or trying to win people over with friendship. Nonviolent coercion was an ironic form of aggression. Nonviolence furnished the movement with a series of tactics that allowed it to remain on permanent offence. The stereotype of the day held that a large gathering of determined black marchers would inevitably turn violent and unruly. But the whole point of this philosophy is that you defeat your opponents with superior self-discipline.”
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