In his Direct Action: An Ethnography (2009), the anarchist and intellectual David Graeber recalls an interesting discussion among anticapitalist activists preparing for demonstrations in Quebec City in 2001. The anticapitalists were discussing an activist group from Montreal that they felt had a very different ethos than they did: it was called Operation SalAMI. The group's members were “not anti-capitalists,” just “the usual anti-corporate types,” and they were Gandhian pacifists who preached absolute nonviolence—no swearing, no graffiti, no vandalism, no aggressive gestures whatsoever (5). The anticapitalists had little time for the SalAMI self-righteous types, who seemed to think their supposed moral superiority gave them the right to micromanage the organization of actions. One activist speaks up to denounce the whole concept of pacifism as “fundamentally elitist” (6). This sparks more denouncements: What good to poor people is the moral superiority these activists display by...

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