Although it's been out for a while, there is a new film that has just now made it to the States and I saw some critiques.
Let me quote from one, of The New Yorker, and then make my point:-
Ken Loach’s wonderful “The Wind That Shakes the Barley,” (trailer) which won the Palme d’Or at Cannes last May, is about a savage little corner of the Irish rebellion against the British in the years 1920 to 1922; that, more particularly, it’s about two brothers from County Cork who fight the vicious English counter-revolutionary force, the Black and Tans, but then part company over the Anglo-Irish Treaty of 1921, which established the Irish Free State but preserved its dependent status as a “dominion” within the British Empire. One brother, Damien (Cillian Murphy), wants complete separation from the United Kingdom and a socialist revolution in Ireland; the other, Teddy (Pádraic Delaney), is willing to accept the treaty as the best possible outcome for the moment. The British are gone (except from Northern Ireland), but revolutionary solidarity among the Irish collapses into civil war. There’s our theme: the revolution devours its children...
...The movie’s power derives from what can only be called under-staging. When the Black and Tans storm into the yard of a Republican family, they line the young men up against a wall; the English soldiers are contemptuous of the Irish—they think they know these people, these troublemakers, and they treat them with coarse intimacy. Yet the brutality has an oddly spasmodic, unpatterned feeling: one soldier may be nearly insane with rage while the others stand around blank-faced, not sure how they should behave.
...It’s an exciting film, but Laverty and Loach demonstrate again and again that revolutionary violence, with its demand for internal discipline and purity, is inherently tragic. In the end, Damien can’t accept the Anglo-Irish compromise because he’s committed acts, such as killing the boy, that would become meaningless if he lessened the absoluteness of his goals. That he’s wrong, or that his brother is wrong to threaten him with execution, isn’t really the issue: the inexorability of the revolutionary process has caught both of them in its spiralling steel coils. Revising my statement of what “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” is about, I would say that it’s a sombrely beautiful dream of the violent Irish past. Refusing the standard flourishes of Irish wildness or lyricism, Loach has made a film for our moment, a time of bewildering internecine warfare.
Indeed, the IRA struggle oddly paralleled that of the Irgun. As my dear late friend, J Bower Bell said, the Irgun picked up tactics and propaganda from the IRA and then the IRA of the 60s and 70s picked up the same from Begin, for he found a copy of The Revolt on the bookshelf of an IRA commander he visited.
But the point I had intended to make (on the background of Olmert's remark on 'the hunting season') is that the Irgun did not fall into that civil-war trap although it and the Lechi and the Hagana for that matter did eliminate traitors.
So it seems that not all revolutionary violence need follow the example of the IRA not, if we are to be current, the Hamas and the Fatah.
So, are we better even at resistance morality?