tv Book Discussion on Violence Nonviolence and the Palestinian National... CSPAN August 15, 2015 3:00pm-3:25pm EDT
distracts us from what's really happening. i think access to health care could be made much better in the united states, and when's happening with obamacare's going to make access worse for people in medicaid, in the sub subsidid plans and low income folks. >> host: medicaid as a competitor is one of your ideas. >> guest: i would let everybody join medicaid. you know, the left says we want a public plan to compete with the private sector, fine. let it be medicaid. let everybody in medicaid get out and get a private plan if they want. if a very wealthy person wants to go into medicaid, wants to wait for his care, he could do that. most medicaid plans these days are run by private health plans but still not very good. there are long waiting periods, and private insurance is better. >> host: is it politically feasible to make medicaid, medicare a competitive option?
>> guest: of course. the, i said earlier, i'd like to see a uniform tax credit available to everyone. i would set that at about $2500 for an adult, $8000 per family. that's what i'm told it costs to put people in medicaid. that's enough money to get medicaid-like insurance, and i don't see any reason why you couldn't let people get it from medicaid themself if they want it. but the vast majority of people are not going to want to be in medicaid. >> host: john goodman, independent institute, the goodman institute. here is the book, "a better choice: health care solutions for america." >> you're watching booktv, television for serious readers. you can watch any program you see here online at booktv.org. >> host: and now joining us on booktv is wendy pearlman who is a professor of political
science at northwestern university. professor, what was your to north western? how'd you get here? >> guest: how'd i get here? well, i did my ph in political science at harvard. i began with middle east politics during a college semester abroad in morocco, got hooked on the arab world and the middle east and have been doing it ever since. eventually, roads led me to the israeli-palestinian conflicts where i did work both as a student and a human rights working before graduate school, and that became the topic of my dissertation and this book. >> host: where'd you grow up? >> guest: lincoln, nebraska. it was a long route to morocco. it was actually my first time outside the united states, and i think i got hooked because it was the place most distant from lincoln, nebraska, than i had -- that i had ever been. >> host: and this is based on your dissertation. >> guest: yeah, based on my doctoral dissertation. >> host: and what is your
conclusion in "violence, nonviolence and the palestinian national movement." >> guest: well, the book asks the question why self-determination movements, movements seeking statehood, use violent means of protest while others use nonviolent protest or why does a single movement use violent or nonviolent protests different ways over time. and the question of that book actually grew out from another book i wrote during the course of graduate school. i had spent time in the gaza strip and did a series of interviews with palestinians telling their everyday stories of living under violence that began in september 2000. and that book became a book of interviews call canned "occupy -- called "occupied vowses." and -- voices. and i did book talks on this book which was, basically, normal, everyday palestinians telling their stories. a question that came up again and again in the conversations i had with audience was, well, we
sthiez with these stories of people suffering under occupation, but why do palestinians continue to use violence? what explains the suicide bombings? where is the palestinian gandhi? and i thought that was a pretty good question, and i knew from my own understanding of history that palestinians have used both violence, clearly, and different forms of nonviolent protests over time, but i didn't have an answer of why the ebbs and flows, violence at some times, nonviolence at others. so that became the focus of my ph.d. studies. and i want to explained these different kinds of tactics and strategies. so as a political scientist, part of my goal as a social scientist is to look in depth at cases, but also to derive larger theories that apply beyond that specific case. so that's what this book aims to do, to look in depth at the
palestinian movement, to derive this generalize bl sort of theory. so my conclusion in the end is that there are many different paths to violence, but often in everyday conversations and in press reports there's a focus on leadership that certain bad leaders want to use violation or radical ideologies. maybe islamism or other types of fanaticism, groups have a kind of radical view where they have revenge and hatred of the enenemy. but i focus instead on the internal structure of a movement, conditions of violent or nonviolent means. preferences matter, ideologies matter, leadership has a role, but also the very way that a movement is organized internally makes some types of tactics possible and other types of tactics more likely. even more specifically than that, i look at the degree to which a movement is internally cohesive or internally
fragmented, and are you that certain degree of internal organizational cohesion is necessary for a movement to carry out nonviolent forms of protest. nonviolence requires coordination to mobilize large numbers. nonviolence requires constraint, that clear strategy or degree of leadership or organizational structure is necessary to provide. it's difficult to amaze those kinds -- amass those kinds of numbers for which nonviolence is famous and only on the basis of which nonviolence can be successful. it's difficult to prevent any one person from transforming a nonviolent event into a violent one unless a movement has a certain degree of organizational cohesion. if it lacks that unity that comes from a certain degree of unity and consensus in public opinion, leadership and institutional structure, without that cohesion if it lacks it, a group is more likely to use violent means. in addition, the degree to which a movement is internally
fragmented creates other incentives and opportunities for violent protest. to the degree a movement is divided into different factions that compete against each other, they'll often use violence as a way of upping the ante, each one claiming to be the greater, more nationalist, true champion of the people. violence can also be a way in which some actors who feel excluded can sort of transform the modalities of the game of internal politics to where they have an advantage using violent means as opposed to other means where they don't have the same types of capacities. fragmentation decreases limits on violence. it's difficult to have any sort of discipline without a leadership that's able to identify clear goals, identify what are the appropriate targets and appropriate means, identify a schedule of events, bring people together and so forth.
also the degree to which a movement is fragmented opens cracks in the movement that allow external actors to intervene with their own agendas, perhaps taking control of different proxy groups and manipulating the entire movement or manipulating little groups to carry out their agendas which may be nonviolent but off are violent. so in all these ways, the degree to which a movement is cohesive, it increases the possibility that it use nonviolent possibility. to the degree that a movement is fragmented, nonviolence becomes less and less a possibility, and new dynamics increasingly point it towards innate violation -- violence and make violence more likely. that's the overarching theory, and the bulk of the book goes through a hundred years of palestinian history examining how these dynamics have played out over time from the british mandate that began in the 1920s through to the 1950s and '60s and the rise of the plo and its various tactics
based outside the historic land of palestine. during the first int fad da through toes low peace process and the creation of the palestinian authority, through the second intifada that was extremely fragmented and extremely violent. and that's where the book comes to a close. >> host: wendy pearlman, is it fair to say did you consider yourself an advocate for the palestinian movement? >> guest: you know, i began some ways as an advocate because i had spent time in the palestinian territories and saw firsthand what their lives were like. but i consider myself, first and foremost, a political scientist. you know, after seven, eight years of graduate school being hammered on how you do hypothesis testing and measuring variables and buying into the goal of producing theory to explain generalize bl puzzles, i know am first and foremost a member of that tribe of
political scientists. and in order to have this accepted as a doctoral dissertation, as a book that was accepted through the peer review process and so forth and just run through the wringer of workshops and conferences and critiques from my disciplinary peers, it has to pass a certain degree of academic muster which is that there are clear arguments that are specified, there's standards for the way you collect data, the way you measure data, the way you argument, the way you contest alternative arguments. so at the end of day, i think it's really an intellectual project that looks at the history of the arab-israeli conflict as a way of exploring dynamics about protest, about violence, about the way that movements are organized. tries to derive that insight and then explore it elsewhere. there's a comparative chapter at the end of the book that looks at the cases of the ira in northern ireland and the anti-apartheid struggle in south
africa to see what degree these dynamics apply there and, to a certain degree, i find that they do. so at the end of the day, i think i'm a political scientist more than anything else. >> host: you say they do apply. >> guest: yeah. >> host: do -- are all three of those movements, did they get more violent over time or less violent? >> guest: you know, i think there are ebbs and flows, and that's what makes it interesting. it's not in this linear process. this the palestinian -- in the palestinian case, i find there are definitely ups and downs. if it were a case of greater and greater fragmentation and greater and greater violence, maybe the movement would cease to exist at this point. it would fragment into a million pieces and there wouldn't be anything we call the palestinian national movement. but there have been ebbs and flows and hiatuses, and i think that's what makes it really interesting. in some ways i wanted to focus on this single case study because it's so rich, it's
lasted for a long time, it's gone through different phases. the, pierce of the the -- experience of the palestinians disbursed and the way the plo emerges is quite different and how palestinians have forced grass roots types of protests emerging within the west bank and the gaza strip. when the palestinian authority emerges as this self-governing pap rat discuss, it creates -- apparatus, it creates dynamics as well. it's an interesting way to see to what degree some basic patterns emerge despite all of these differences. and that ooh's what i'm most interested in looking for, what are the forest from the trees of the history. >> host: did any of these patterns surprise you? >> guest: that's a terrific question. you know, i think that they did to a certain degree. i mean, i also -- i say that i began with this question when
people said where is the palestinian gandhi? the answer to nonviolence is a single charismatic leader that can bring everyone together. and the fact that i didn't have a very good response made, i kind of accepted that same paradigm to a certain degree. maybe if there were a single charismatic leadership, that would be the key to make palestinian nonviolence possible. but diving into it, i saw that it's really much more complicated than that. there's a structure of politics. there's a way that different political factions are organized and compete be against each other. there could be leadership, and there are many different leaders on the ground. but absent a larger context that both enables and supports different palestinian factions to come together to resolve their differences, to agree on a common agenda, to go forward, various leaders would get stamped out. there's an organizational structure that makes this
possible, and that's the key to -- for all who want to promote nonviolence, in this case and in other cases. >> host: yasser arafat, longtime leader in the palestinian movement. >> guest: yeah. >> host: violent? nonviolent? mix? >> guest: there's certainly a mix. you look at the history of the plo, in many stages yasser arafat was more moderate than his radicals to the right. leftist marxist groups like the pflp and dflp that wanted to hijack planes and so forth. that was always a captive in some ways to his, as i would say, the organizational context in which he worked. i think his primary goals were to promote a palestinian representative that the world would recognize as palestinians speaking for palestinians. not jordanians or the egyptians, not to look for an alternative leadership, to have the plo be the sole, legitimate, recognized representative of the
palestinian people. he understood that required that the palestinian factions come together, enough, unified enough to be that representative. if palestinians were competing against each other, as some said we don't want to be in the plo, we want to be in another group, that was competition to and a challenge to everyone coming onboard this a single movement that could compel the recognition and the respect of the world. so he was always making compromises to keep all factions onboard, on the plo project which he saw as the vehicle towards recognition and the vehicle towards gaining some degree of palestinian search determination. -- self-determination. so various compromises were made along the way that he, in many ways, wanted to push towards a negotiable solution but had to be radical enough to keep the more radical factions onboard so they wouldn't seek funding and carry out attacks on their own. so he was always negotiating, keeping factions together, to keep the plo unified.
pushing it towards, i think at some point by the mid '70s, he recognized that armed struggle was not the sole and possible route to coercing and forcing and compelling and terrorizing israelis into making concessions. but was always playing this two-level game between trying to advance the palestinians on the international front and having unity kept internally so that the whole palestinian national project didn't break down. and that sort of went forward into the '90s each under toes low -- even under the oslo peace process. having one ear to public opinion, what the palestinian people seemed to want, to being pushed by factions more radical than he was and at the same time wanting to be an international, recognized head of state, and at the same time always in this very difficult negotiating, bargaining situation with israel that involved both talks and violation.
and violence. >> host: how important was the reaction to of israel to the various palestinian movement's techniques? >> guest: it absolutely and always is a factor. so in the first intifada which is a case i look at, the pack of palestinian -- the peak of palestinian nonviolent protests when the palestinians were able to develop a single, cohesive, underground leadership in which they agreed on manifestos that they distributed to the panel stint january territories -- palestinian territories. on monday we'll have a boy cat. on tuesday, lawyers will take this action. on wednesday, people will clean the streets and so forth. they had a series of thousands of local committees that were able to implement these commands. bring people of all classes and sectors together on a strategy with a clearly defined goal of
everyday acts of defiance to, basically, push the israeli forces from the west bank and gaza strip. that was sort of the climax. and israel fought the first intifada. as the rock throwing that was acts of israelis regarded as violence at the time, it did things like pursue this underground leadership, left the members of leadership to or the and imprisoned various activists. and it makes sense from an israeli security point of view to arrest those who are leading an uprising against them. it absolutely manges sense. the paradox call dynamic -- paradoxical program containing the uprising by defining goals, by defining strategies, by keeping some sort of discipline in order.
when they are removed, what happens? the head is removed. what happens to what's left behind? either there's no leadership or, often, less experience, less trained, less disciplined, often younger activists come to the fore to fill the vacuum. the unity that those leaders were able to create gradually broke down over time, in many ways due to the israeli strategy of trying to arrest and imprison them. israel is in a bind here too. it wants to bring protests to a close, but sometimes its ways of doing so ironically disrupt and undermine palestinian unity, create new incentives and opportunities for increasing fragmentation that make nonviolent protests less and less possible, that make violent protest more and more likely. i would say the same thing holds today. since 2007 and the split between hamas and the gaza strip and the
palestinian authority in the west bank, there's fierce factional power struggle between palestinian factions that is very much due to palestinian factions themselves, their inability to compromise and in many ways them putting their own partisan interests before the national struggle. but there's also blame in the international community and among israel that has given all sorts of incentives and pressures to keep that split. since 2007 at various junctures hamas has tried to create unity deals, reconciliation agreements, some ways to get back on the same page. because israel refuses to recognize hamas, says it's a terrorist organization, it won't have dealings with it. because the u.s. also says that hamas is a terrorist organization. it won't recognize those reconciliation agreements, those unity agreements because it's the pa making an agreement with
hamas that the world doesn't want to recognize. i understand hamas' long record of terror, but hamas is political reality, and there can be no palestinian unity when this major political actor on the palestinian scene which won elections in a e free and fair elections in 2006 which is a governing power in part of the palestinian territory, a powerful, real, active political actor, when the world refused to recognize it, almost pretends it doesn't exist, there can be no unity on the palestinian scene. the palestinians will be divided in two. i would say that palestinians coming together, some sort of unity and reconciliation, not being divided in two, but forging a unified house is the only way to go forward with the peace process. it's the only way to go forward with the negotiated solution. it's the only way to prevent factions from having their own interests to erupt in violence again. those who want peace should
support palestinian unity. factions moderate to the degree which they're forced to come to a center as opposed to being out on the margins and facing no disincentive for carrying out radical means. that if we want palestinian peace, we should encourage reconciliation. even if that means, like, dealing with an actor we really don't like, that a palestinian government with which the united states and israel has reservations is better than no palestinian government at all. this unity is in everyone's interests. so in this way i would say both israel refusing to talk to hamas or any palestinian unity arrangement that has hamas onboard and the united states in doing the same thing is dealing with a false, unrealistic, almost fantasy of what palestinian politics is. we should encourage unity and work with it, see an opportunity for factions to moderate rather than exclude and think that that will solve the problem. >> host: wendy pearlman, you've
talked about the palestinian gandhi and the nonviolent movement, but aren't violent movements, can't they be successful as well? >> guest: absolutely. i think violent movements can be successful, and i think that violent movements can be cohesive. so i'm also a not saying that uni-- unified movements are always going to use nonviolation. a movement that's not unified is very unlikely to use nonviolence. if you see nonviolence, it's likely that the movement is unifyied. we can't expect nonviolence or really a sustained, successful diplomatic peace process with a movement that is eternally disunified. and that's the problem today with hamas and the fatah-led pa in two different ways in the schism. it's unlikely to see progress on the peace terrain or mass nonviolence as long as there's this schism. unity's necessary for nonviolence. fragmentation makes a group more
likely to use violence. a movement can -- or i'd say that nonviolence or violence, either way might lead a movement to success under different conditions related to who the nature of their struggle, the nature of international dynamics, the kinds of resources they have. my question was not so much about explaining success as much as explaining this curious pattern between violence and nonviolence given the degree to which violence can be so devastate ising for all involved and the degree to which the world seems to want to support nonviolation as the moral option. part of the lesson i'm drawing is if we really support nonviolence, we can't also ignore these internal dynamics, and we can't support continued divisions, in the palestinian case, or contribute to a situation in which continued division is very likely and then ask why not violence or why