REVOLUTION AND EQUILIBRIUM by Barbara Deming

REVOLUTION AND EQUILIBRIUM

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A retrospective scanning of New Left issues, filtered by Deming's Gandhian faith in non-violence. The title essay, written in February 1968 against a background of increasingly militant student actions, is her strongest affirmation of satyagraha -- the efficacy of truth; she offers ""radical and uncompromising action"" in place of violence, suggesting that this will ""set the oppressor free as well as the oppressed."" In ""Non-violence and Radical Change"" (1969) she claims that ""Gandhi went far enough to enable them to throw the British out of India without killing a single Englishman,"" but ignores the multitude of Indian deaths inflicted by British rule. Early essays on Cuba, the San Francisco-Moscow peace march, a visit to anti-nuclear submarine pacifists (""Beats raised from limbo by a positive faith"") display a benevolent, personalized, nonpolitical warmth. She seeks direct contact with people, individual reformation through persuasion: ""I would like you to be like Gandhi,"" she tells Fidel. Some issues, like Communists in SANE and unilateral versus multilateral disarmament, are dated and irrelevant, but the account of the 1962 Nashville-to-Washington peace march is a nice vignette of the period. Deming's 1966 visit to North Vietnam doesn't seem to stir her pacifism but merely provokes condemnation of American anti-personnel bombings. Birmingham, Women's Strike for Peace, draft resistance, the Berrigans, and Resurrection City round out the themes, sometimes touching, sometimes irritatingly anemic in their naivete, of the collection.

Pub Date: April 7th, 1971
Publisher: Grossman