In the aftermath of the liberation of France from Nazi occupation in 1944, the French novelist and philosopher Albert Camus, who had been part of the French Resistance, supported the violent punishment and execution of collaborators as a way to create a more just society. But as “The Purge” continued, he was horrified by its brutality. He came to recognize that using violence to resist violence simply doesn’t work. And in 1946 wrote “I will never again be among those, who for whatever reasons, accommodate themselves to murder, and…I accept the consequences of my choice.” In “Neither Victims nor Executioners” he wrote that we must find a third way beyond being a victim or a victimizer. Nonviolent resistance can be a third way. This talk will consider what nonviolent resistance is, how it works, and how we can use it in our everyday lives to deal with injustice and oppression without becoming either victims or executioners.
Deborah Buffton is a long-time friend of the fellowship who taught history at UWL for 33 years until her retirement in spring 2020 (perfect timing!). Her scholarly interests include Chinese, French, and US history, peace movements, and the effects of war and militarism on society. Currently she is working on a Handbook of Peace History for Oxford University Press, and she regularly vigils for peace in downtown La Crosse.
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