I'd say he was right in saying that NV was only part of the reason campaigns were successful. But that doesn't mean that they shouldn't be used; as some people will always be against violence wherever it comes from.
His languages sets NV up in a win-lose situation, which doesn't represent reality, as he himself points out. And comments like 'Ultimately, the liberation movement in India failed' seem designed as sound-bites rather than careful analysis. While Gandhi and his many many friends were not the only reason the British got out, they had an incredible effect, not only on their present but also on the future - our (or myabe my) thoughts of India are of a proud nation standing up to its oppressors with more dignity than the oppressors showed. I wonder whether, had their been similar NV movements in other colonised countries, would they be as overrun now with development professionals flying in and out to help 'build their capacity' and the like? I write this as one of the uncomfortable flyers.
In response I would like to quote from my book: “From Monkey Sapiens to Homo Intentional. The phenomenology of the non-violent revolution”: “Violence cannot be a tool to fight the system, not just because it is morally wrong, but also because it is the very methodology of the inhuman system in which we are submerged. To justify violence for one side is to justify it for everybody else, and so the system thrives on guerrilla movements, terrorism, popular violent uprisings and wars. With the justification of self-defence, the need to calm down a situation, punish those responsible for atrocities and/or simply “prevent” further violence, military budgets are inflated, police forces get the go ahead for more and more restrictive and draconian practices, and painfully achieved human rights legislation gets bypassed. True dissidents from the present brutal system do not play its violent game but make a void to its violence. Opposing the system by imitating its methods is tantamount to maintaining it.” Sylvia Swinden
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