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Elizabeth ‘Betita’ Martinez, Matt Meyer and Mandy Carter (eds), 'We Have Not Been Moved. Resisting Racism and Militarism in 21st Century America'

PM Press and War Resisters League, 2012; 582 pages; £21.99

ImageTaking its cue from Martin Luther King’s famous 1967 speech denouncing the war in Vietnam, We Have Not Been Moved focuses on the resistance to both racism and militarism in the United States.

The three editors — all experienced activists — have collated 90 contributions looking at the connections and cleavages between the two issues, including the over-representation of ethnic minorities fighting in the armed forces, government money funding aggressive wars overseas rather than domestic social programmes and the overwhelmingly white make-up of the peace movement.

At 582 pages it’s a daunting book. However, there is much of interest in the long-form essays, articles, interviews, photos, poems, manifestos and dialogues from both well-known and less well known activists. Barbara Deming’s moving first-hand account of a mixed race peace walk in the Deep South in the early 1960s is a real pleasure to read, as is Dave Dellinger’s thoughtful reflection on the class dynamics of anti-war groups. Another highlight is anarchist Chris Crass’s very practical guide ‘Tools For White Guys Who Are Working For Social Change’. As these contributions suggest the title doesn’t fully do justice to the book’s varied concerns — a significant number of contributors have a deep interest in revolutionary nonviolence.

There is a helpful biography of each contributor at the back of the book but frustratingly there is a real lack of contextual information to assist understanding. For example, many of the contributions are not dated or introduced by the editors, and the extensive number of archaic acronyms used is likely to confuse and impede readers’ comprehension. Bizarrely an interview about the All-African People’s Revolutionary Party includes a (surely-unneeded) footnote spread over two pages listing over 100 sympathetic groups around the world. In addition the US-centric nature of the book means an existing knowledge of activism across the pond is essential to fully get to grips with the subject matter.

Perhaps best used as a resource to dip in and out of for ideas and arguments, We Have Not Been Moved may be unwieldy but it has lots to offer activists across the globe interested in the important and evolving relationship between racism and militarism.







Topics: Race | Anti-militarism