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Does Non-Violent Protest Work?

Ralph reflects on the current unrest in the streets with Professor Michael G. Long, author of “We the Resistance: Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States.” Then, he welcomes Middle East scholar, Juan Cole, to speak about Netanyahu’s plan to annex 30% of the West Bank for Israel. Plus, Ralph addresses listener objections to his use of the term “Moscow Mitch.”

Michael G. Long is the author of several books on civil rights, politics, and religion. Dr. Long’s book on Jackie Robinson was selected as a best book of the year by Publishers Weekly, and his works have been featured or reviewed in The Boston Globethe New York Timesthe Los Angeles Times, Book Forum, and Ebony/Jet. He served as an expert historian for Ken Burn’s documentary on Jackie Robinson. His most recent book is “We the Resistance: Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States”.

“Nonviolent protests seem to be missing in historical studies. I think part of it is just because nonviolent protests aren’t as sexy as violent protests. I mean if you look at the contemporary media coverage of the George Floyd protest, we saw most of the coverage when the George Floyd protest turned violent.”

Michael G. Long, author of “We the Resistance: Documenting a History of Nonviolent Protest in the United States”

“A recent survey showed that one fourth of hardcore conservatives have a positive view of the Black Lives Matter movement. We’re talking Trump voters here. Something is happening to quicken the sense of justice and the sense of injustice and the sense of fair play and the sense of equal treatment in America.”

Ralph Nader

Juan Cole is a public intellectual, prominent essayist and Professor of History at the University of Michigan. His work seeks to put the relationship between the West and the Muslim world into a historical context. He had written about the upheavals in the Arab World since 2011. Mr. Cole has regular columns in The Nation and Truthdig. And he is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of the online newsletter, Informed Comment. His most recent book is Muhammad: Prophet of Peace Amid the Clash of Empires”.

“In international law, occupation is envisaged as something short. Something that happens during a war you take some of the other countries’ territory briefly. But this [occupation] has gone on since 1967, so it’s no longer an occupation of the sort that is legalized in international law. And Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation or in Gaza under military blockade are denied basic human rights. They are essentially colonial subjects.”

Juan Cole, Professor of History at the University of Michigan

Ralph Nader Radio Hour Ep 329 Transcript (Right click to download)


  1. Bruce K. says:

    Every time we have turmoil or mass demonstrations in this country there are a few things that always rear their ugly heads so to speak.

    1. There always seems to be violence and looting, and it is often blamed on – or some part of it found to be traced back to outside provocateurs, or forced reaction to police knocking head or provoking people.

    2. The usual suspects in the media always talk about how violence never solves anything, or sets back whatever issue it is.

    3. We see that for the most part NO change happens through democracy or within the system [ see David Litt’s book Democracy in One Book or Less: How It Works, Why It Doesn’t, and Why Fixing It Is Easier Than You Think ] … though some odd coincidence we only seem to see change when violence is threatened or used, and some people have to pay the price.

    What is the real situation behind what really brings about change? When the media is so powerful and all pervasive it can cover up, spin or hide democratic citizen opinion.

  2. Bruce K. says:

    Whenever I see Juan Cole I know we are going to be subjected to the most dishonest, unfair and vicious pro-Palestinian propaganda with never a mention of what goes on in Palestine and how their country doesn’t work. I used to read RSN, Reader Supported News until the bias and hatred of Israel ( which is not even an issue that affects me ) just became so unbalanced and unfair along with the censorship.

    This kind of dishonesty and lies worthy of FOX News or the extreme right-wing media is like a poison pill the Left seems to take or be forced to accept or listen to undermines any political change in the USA, and a skepticism and even hostility towards the Left. And Ralph and so many other Leftist media seem to support this. And all this time it is suspicious that there are connections in these far-Left voices that support issues that repulse average Americans from the movement – funded and managed by the CIA or Right-wing financiers. The most powerful way to undermine change is to own your opposition.

    So, how about some stories about what is going on in Palestine? How does their government work? Why do they continue to refuse to recognize Israel? Why is it Israel has Palestinian Arabs living there, but by implication Jews are supposed to be ethnically cleansed from Palestine. Ralph, who used to be one of my biggest heroes has declined in my esteem by the dishonesty and partisanship … continued for the years I have followed this show. I never used to consider or even imagine Ralph was such an anti-Jewish activist to the point that this is the only issue he will just out and out propagandize for.

    You also degrade respect for International law which is disproportionately influenced by Muslim activists.

    > And Palestinians living under Israeli military occupation or in Gaza under military blockade are denied basic human rights. They are essentially colonial subjects.”

    How would you describe Israelis or Jews living in Palestinians?

    The only non-violent way Israel has of influencing Palestine is to demonstrate that time is not on their side in terms of making peace.

    How about am honest comparison of the magnitude of population, land and values Jews kicked out of neighboring countries in the region and forced to go to Israel and actual losses of the Palestinians? Why do other countries not want to accept Palestinians refugees, and what has happen in those countries, like Lebanon and Jordan when Palestinian refugees have lived there?

    • Hugh Jarce says:

      Maybe stop listening Bruce. Every time I come to this page I know I’m going to be subjected to your crap.

      • Bruce K. says:

        So is RNRH now moderating insult comments? That’s one strategy to destroy discussion and discourage free speech. Disappointing Ralph and his less articulate listeners can’t engage fairly and objectively on this issue, but still claim to be Progressive.

      • Bruce K. says:

        Is Steve Skrovan , Hugh Jarce.
        Moderators do not let crap like this make it to the web page unless they write it themselves. Delete these violation comments and slap yourself on the wrist

      • Bruce K. says:

        Besides, what are you complaining about … being a “Hugh Jarce” you are constantly subjected to crap … one could even say it as the purpose of your existence … Skrovan.

    • Mike Hunter says:

      Whenever I see a Bruce K comment pertaining to Palestine, I’m subjected to bollocks.

      Ralph. Stop spouting Russiagate bollocks.

  3. Afdal Shahanshah says:

    I’m flattered to have my comment addressed on air again, but I don’t really feel all that schooled. >.> Usually when you give folks some schooling you provide an argument supported by evidence in order to persuade them, but Ralph simply made an assertion. And that’s really all the Russiagate hoax has been for the last four years, as every piece of evidence claimed to support it has crumbled, one after the other, when subjected to scrutiny: an endless string of assertions. No hacking. No collusion. No “influence campaign” by the Russian government.

    Has the American Empire directly interfered in scores of elections around the world for well over a century? Sure. Is it reasonable to expect other world powers to do the same to us? Sure. Does that mean they ACTUALLY DID in this instance? Not without evidence. No one is denying that Mitch McConnell is a totally corrupt tool of the plutocrats. But the reason he opposes bills like the For The People Act trying to make our electoral processes more transparent and accountable is not in service to some vague Russian menace. It’s because we have an epidemic of serial computerized election fraud in America that he and his donors benefit from. Ralph, if you won’t listen to some lowly peon in an internet comments section, then at least take heed from the Black Agenda Report you praised last week:

    • Bruce K. says:

      > Is it reasonable to expect other world powers to do the same to us?

      That is naive simplistic thinking. The fact is that we, the people, do not really know what went on in our name financed by our money, or how it balances out of better or worse. It seems wrong. It was the way of the corrupt world since forever. I think in terms of Mossadegh and Arbenz it was wrong and even criminal. Say we can all agree on that, your argument seems to say that everyone has the right to be criminal, not that the criminality should stop.

      There are also other differences like the world is a far more volatile and dangerous place today and we really do not need governments destabilized, especially super powers.

      We don’t even know for sure that there is not some connection between Republicans and Russians. I’d bet that would be fertile ground for investigation. We have had quite a few prominent American billionaires with ties to Russia going way back, including Fred Koch who also worked building oil refineries for the Nazis. Armand Hammer in Russia and who is connected to Al Gore.

      The goal ought to be to reveal the truth and end the systems that hide it and twist it, not justify it in some bizarre way.

  4. John Puma says:

    In reference to “the best?!?) for last.” I couldn’t agree more about the (obscenely) prominent position
    of autocratic corporations in the US. Add to that similarly autocratic and chillingly influential institutions
    of organized religion and the military.

    With this trifecta of indigenous totalitarianism, it must be presumed that the constant mention of
    “democracy” is simply an aspect of an, as-yet, VERY successful propaganda program.

  5. margaret walsh says:

    the “contact form” did “send” my comment..
    the “send icon” just kept spinning..

    so i send it here..
    DR PEACE guest suggestion..
    good afternoon from camplunalnda..

    every day i invoke for a PEACE ECONOMY..
    where our best futures waits..

    DR PEACE has/can prove this..
    who will listen?

    RN knows DR PEACE from ROWE CAMP..

    thank you for your consideration..

  6. Bruce K. says:

    Well, we can agree about “Moscow” Mitch. McConnell basically worked to cover up Russian interference in our 2016 election threatening to go to war with Obama in the media and call him a liar and say it was a partisan Democratic trick if Obama attempted to make public that the Russians were working for the Republicans.

    Obama rolled over as was his habit to give in to Republicans and take the blame for them.