Steve Russell: Ward Churchill faces a third jury
"Ward Churchill’s second jury has spoken. That would be the jury in his wrongful termination lawsuit that found, not irrationally, that Churchill would still be a tenured full professor at the University of Colorado if he had not written an essay faulting the victims of the World Trade Center bombing for the location of their employment.

“Little Eichmanns,” he called them, in some half-witted parody of Hannah Arendt’s observations in her masterful work “Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil” (1963). Arendt, unlike Churchill, was an intellectual of substance and great accomplishment, and I doubt that he’s read much of her writings. Had he understood “The Origins of Totalitarianism” (1951), much of what he published in his career would have been done differently.

In keeping with my normal practice of revealing my biases, I admit to being most offended by Churchill’s “Pacifism as Pathology: Reflections on the Role of Armed Struggle in North America” (1998). It is, perhaps, his justification for that famous photograph of the learned professor with an assault rifle. My complaint comes from having worked with Cesar Chavez, admired Martin Luther King Jr., and spent no small amount of my life urging young Indians to train as “briefcase warriors.” American Indians are oppressed peoples, now as well as historically, but the way out for us is community organizing rather than gunplay.

This fundamental disagreement about the role of an American Indian university professor colors my views of Churchill. Eichmann, Arendt famously observed, was not a particularly bright cog in a genocidal machine. Assuming everyone agrees that capitalism is a genocidal machine (although I, for one, do not), the idea that one who happens to be present in the World Trade Center is a cog in that machine is preposterous."

Get the Story:
Steve Russell: Churchill’s third jury (Indian Country Today 5/27)

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