Category Archives: Review

Review: The Failure of Nonviolence: from the Arab Spring to Occupy

by Peter Gelderloos, Left Bank Books, Seattle 2013

Occupy Barcelona cops pacifists

Protesters in Barcelona learn that pacifism is not a very practical way to resist.

Review by Zig Zag, Warrior Publications, August 11, 2013

The basic premise of this book is that advocates of pacifism have lost the debate over tactics and strategies used by social movements, and only those that have used a diversity of tactics have been successful. A promising premise and even more promising title, considering the recent manifestations of revolt and protest that characterized the Arab Spring and Occupy movements, and the “official” pacifist narrative that portrays these as victorious examples of nonviolence. Since these two movements are both recent and have served as inspiring examples for a new generation (including, it could be argued, the Idle No More wave of protests), the task of unraveling the false narratives pushed by pacifists seems both timely and highly relevant. Read the rest of this entry

Red Power Rising: The National Indian Youth Council and the Origins of Native Activism

by Bradley G. Shreve, University of Oklahoma Press, Norman, Oklahoma 2011

Book Review by Zig Zag

I have to admit, my knowledge of the early years of Native social movements was weak, prior to reading this book. Although I had heard of the NIYC, I hadn’t really grasped what they were, other than a group of Native university students who participated in early grassroots struggles in the 1950s and ’60s. Read the rest of this entry

Oka: A Political Crisis and its Legacy

by Harry Swain, Douglas & McIntyre, Vancouver/Toronto 2010

Book Review by Zig Zag, March 2011,

What more could be said about the 1990 ‘Oka Crisis’ thirty years after the fact? Quite a bit apparently, at least if you were one of the Queen’s henchmen. Harry Swain was a long-time government bureaucrat with the Department of Indian Affairs, and from 1987 to 1992 was deputy minister of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC, the current version of DIA). While there are many accounts of that summer’s standoff, most have been written by journalists. Swain is the first senior government official closely involved in managing the dispute to write an account from the state’s perspective. Read the rest of this entry

Review of Wasase

Book Review by Zig Zag

Wasase; indigenous pathways of action & freedom
By Taiaiake Alfred
Broadview Press, Ontario, Canada 2005

Whenever I hear or read Taiaiake’s thoughts on Native peoples & our struggles, I think of a quote by the Chinese word-lord and all-around wise-guy, Lao Tzu: “The wise leader knows that the true nature of events cannot be captured in words. So why pretend? Confusing jargon is one sure sign of a leader who does not know how things happen.” Read the rest of this entry