Tom Hayden and Mark Kurlansky offer a dangerous idea as wars rage on around the world
As wars raged around the planet, former California State Senator and political activist Tom Hayden and popular writer and historian Mark Kurlansky teamed up at the Miami Book Fair International 2006 to explore the possibilities and pitfalls of nonviolent protest as a more effective means to political change. Leading the quixotic charge, bestselling author Mark Kurlansky (Cod and Salt) introduced Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea (Modern Library; September, 2006). Tom Hayden, author of Conspiracy in the Streets: The Extraordinary Trial of the Chicago Eight (New Press; August, 2006), followed with an analysis of the effectiveness of violence in political disagreements and argued that shame is the trigger for political violence. After Kurlansky weighed in against military solutions to political conflict, Hayden contrasted abolitionist John Brown's violent revolt with rifle-toting Harriet Tubman and self-defense. Having raised the issue of whether humans are violent by nature, Kurlansky and Hayden explored the cultural roots of political violence and the impact of nationalism in fomenting violence with a look at whether the political conflict in Iraq could have been resolved in a nonviolent process. Noting that women were rarely involved in violent conflict, Kurlansky and Hayden discussed the role of cultural nurturing of male vs. female genders in advanced vs. indigenous societies; argued the legitimacy of violence in terms of political resistance when faced with violent aggression; discussed the process for a troop pullout in Iraq as a means for nonviolent conflict resolution; and proposed the usefulness of mediation in nonviolent conflict resolution.
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