AntiNote: We are pleased to present the first in a limited run of selections from the brief life of the Smiley and West podcast, which has kindly given us the nod to print portions of their work.
One of the last interviews they did was with Princeton professor Jeffrey Stout. A longtime colleague of Cornel West, he shared some ideas from his own work examining the structures of social movements and the dynamics of domination.
His comments about movements’ fundamental duties—to engage in long processes of face-to-face organizing, as well as to develop and adhere to broad visions of the world they are fighting to create (one free of domination)—touch on topics of major concern to the AntiDote Writers Collective.
Influenced by Henry David Thoreau and Leo Tolstoy, Mohandas Gandhi is perhaps the first person to put the principles of nonviolence and non-cooperation into effect of a mass scale. Explaining this principle, in For Pacifists, he wrote;
The science of war leads one to dictatorship, pure and simple. The science of non-violence alone can lead one to pure democracy…Power based on love is thousand times more effective and permanent than power derived from fear of punishment….It is a blasphemy to say non-violence can be practiced only by individuals and never by nations which are composed of individuals…The nearest approach to purest anarchy would be a democracy based on non-violence…A society organized and run on the basis of complete non-violence would be the purest anarchy.