The Spectator

The warped world of Ward Churchill

The warped world of Ward Churchill
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I have been interested in Ward Churchill for years. So interested, in fact, that his writings inspired me to write a novel about what might happen if the “global justice movement” developed a taste for revolutionary violence. Churchill, who claims Native American ancestry, has finally been sacked by the University of Colorado for calling the dead of 9/11 “little Eichmanns” – his appalling claim being that the financiers in the World Trade Center were no better than the Nazis. In fact, Churchill has been saying this, and much else for six years. His reaction to the September 11 atrocities was: “it’s about time.” And he has written a string of books calling for the use of armed struggle in the fight against global capitalism, notably his Pacifism as Pathology. In style and substance, Churchill recalls the warped spirit of the Weather Underground and the Red Army Faction. Generally, he is written off as a maverick and an egoist, but this is a mistake. As Christopher Caldwell and others have tried to explain, there is a section of the (mostly law-abiding) anti-globalisation movement which has embraced violence and operates predominantly on the web. Witness the so-called “black bloc” – so-called because of their black ski-masks – who rioted before this year’s G8 summit in Germany. Churchill’s sacking was richly deserved but it will give this movement the intellectual martyr and focus it has long craved. A story to watch.