WE THE RESISTANCE by Michael G. Long


Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States
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A highly relevant, inclusive collection of voices from the roots of resistance.

What are some of the precursors for the resistance movements that continue to gain momentum today? Editor Long (Religious Studies and Peace and Conflict Studies, Elizabethtown Coll.; Peaceful Neighbor: Discovering the Countercultural Mister Rogers, 2015, etc.) collects an inspiring group of voices who have actively resisted the status quo, from the earliest dissent among Quakers in the historic petition against intolerance known as “The Flushing Remonstrance” to a March 2018 editorial entitled “We Do Not Want a Wall,” by San Diego immigration attorney Dulce Garcia. Long emphasizes that the collection “aims to document nonviolent protests that have been leftist—socially, politically, and economically—within the context of U.S. history.” Eschewing coverage of rallies by the Ku Klux Klan and those targeting Roe v. Wade, for example, the editor includes protests that promoted the abolition of slavery, the right to “free love and unregulated sex,” the rights of women and those disenfranchised, the conservation of animals, the elimination of police brutality, and so on. While there are documents by a few iconic names, such as Henry David Thoreau, Angela Y. Davis, and Naomi Klein, Long has left out some big names like Martin Luther King Jr. for “practical reasons”—i.e., securing rights to his work is difficult and expensive. Yet the result of showcasing less-well-known voices is added richness, underscoring what legendary activist Dolores Huerta notes is largely the impetus of people from “humble backgrounds” who “shoulder[ed] their way up from the bottom.” Many of the included pieces shine: Abenaki leader Loron Sauguaarum’s 1727 plainspoken document “I Have No King” explaining his honest understanding of a treaty made with the crafty English negotiators; ex-slave narratives such as Underground Railroad stationmaster Jermain Wesley Loguen’s “I Won’t Obey It!”; Margorie Swann’s autobiographical 1959 “Statement on Omaha Action” delineating her pacifist stance; and the 2015 “Eleven Reasons to Close Guantánamo” by Naureen Shah of Amnesty International USA, among many others.

Empowering words to challenge, confront, and defy.

Pub Date: April 1st, 2019
ISBN: 978-0-87286-756-7
Page count: 652pp
Publisher: City Lights
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2019


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