To Learn from Satyagraha Is To Dig Beneath Romantic Myths

Some links that floated by my screen in recent days:

  • A new book, Gandhian Nonviolent Struggle and Untouchability in South India by Mary Elizabeth King, takes a closer look at the Vykom satyagraha campaign and deflates some of the myths about it. Analyses of nonviolent action campaigns often suffer from a desire to prove that nonviolence works or is better than alternatives. This desire can shape the analysis so much as to make it less credible. So careful, detailed, less-agenda-driven analyses are very valuable. I haven’t read this one yet, but the review on whet my appetite.
  • Irish legislator and anti-austerity activist Paul Murphy says the campaign against the “water charge” — the Irish government’s latest attempt to hide taxes in utility bills — is on the verge of victory. Half a million households, or about a third of them, have not registered with Irish Water. This in the face of the government offering a €100 prebate to households who registered by the deadline.
  • A political opposition party in Burundi is calling for a tax strike to protest what it characterizes as a violation of term limits by President Pierre Nkurunziza. “We want to significantly target the economy of the country to be sure that the president has no other choice but to yield to the people’s demands,” said opposition figure Jérémie Minani. As most of the government revenue comes from indirect taxes (and foreign aid), the opposition is asking merchants to stop importing goods that are subject to duties, and is asking people to stop using fuel, smoking, and drinking alcoholic beverages, and to reduce their use of cell phones, to avoid the value-added taxes on those products.

A one-sentence Reuters dispatch from :

Passive Resistance in Spain.

 — Taverns, cafes, and houses engaged in the wholesale spirit trade are closed to-day, as a protest against the alcohol tax increase.