Masks of Anarchy, by Paul Foot

Rise like lions after slumber: Revolutionary Shelley

 

Richard Holmes rightly describes Shelley’s The Mask of Anarchy as “the greatest political poem ever written in English”. The ninety-two verses of The Mask were written in hot indignation in September 1819, immediately after Shelley heard the news of the massacre at Peterloo. It is the most concise, the most popularly written and the most explicit statement of his political ideas in poetry.

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Jesus and Nonviolent Resistance (Mental Fight)

Love your Enemies

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You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be children of your Father in heaven. [Matt v: 38-48]

Commentary by Marcus J. Borg

There is a habitual conventual way of reading this chapter of sayings as commending passive acceptance of wrongdoing: don’t resist somebody who beats you; go the extra mile; don’t insist on your own rights. Colloquially, be a doormat – let people walk all over you. Moreover, it has most commonly been understood to refer to personal relationships, not to the political realm. Most Christians have not thought of this passage as prohibiting participation in war or capital punishment. Official violence is okay. But all of this is a misunderstanding of the passage whose effect is to domesticate it politically. The powers that be are pleased with the doormat reading.

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