Tom Manning - Essays - Armed Struggle  
June 4, 2000

The zionists have withdrawn their troops from the south of Lebanon after two decades of hostile military occupation.

In the New York Times the question was posed, “Does Terrorism Work?” and answered, “No, not at all ….” the zionists “could no longer overcome the weakness of [their] moral position - - occupying someone else’s land.”

I would re-pose the question, and the answer, Does ARMED STRUGGLE against an oppressor work?  Yes, if the armed struggle of the oppressed raises the cost of the oppression to the level that it makes it prohibitive for the oppressor.  Whether that cost be in lives, property damage, military budget, or exposing the weakness of the oppressor’s moral position.

Armed struggle works.  It is a necessary component of any struggle for liberation, along with all other means of fighting for freedom.  “By Any Means Necessary”.

But, we must realize that exposing the weakness of the oppressor’s moral position, alone, does not work.  If that were the case, merely addressing an open letter to the zionists, reminding them they are occupying Palestine, land of the Palestinian people, unjustly and immorally would have caused them to pick up their bags and return to Europe, Russia, America or wherever else they came from, a long time ago.  Then they could apply to the Palestinian authorities for visas or political asylum, if they felt the dire or the need.

Or, 800 years ago an open letter to the British, reminding them that their occupation of Ireland was unjust and immoral, could have saved all that misery for the people of Ireland.

We can go on and talk about the English and the Portuguese and the French and the Germans and the Belgians and the Dutch and the Italians, in relation to the African Continent and points south of the equator and west to the sun.  Get the point?

There are those who will ask about Gandhi and I will answer, the English were slaughtering the people of India in droves.   And would have continued to do so if the cost of that oppression was not made prohibitive by the English’s war with Germany.

Martin Luther King, Jr. in America?  The oppressor had to weigh the cost of the civil rights shell game against the cost of dealing with the George Jackson and Malcolm X factor.  As for civil rights gains in America, getting your civil rights – are like trying to get your files from the f.b.i. through the freedom of information act (F.O.I.A.).

Again, as I often do, I find the question and the answer in Bob Marley’s  music “How long will they kill our children, while we stand aside and look?  …..  “We’ve got to fight, fight, fight for our rights …. !  Equal Rights and Justice !”


Tom Manning

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