By Patrick Nolen and Ilsa van den Broeck
“If you know your enemy and know yourself, you need not fear the result of a hundred battles.” The Art of War by Sun Tzu, 600 BC.
Sun Tzu was, of course, originally referring to warfare in ancient China. But to the hundreds of thousands who have more recently studied and applied his principles, his observation holds just as true in modern politics, and in our efforts at organizing around social justice issues.
Many right-of-center institutions and advocates seem to have taken Sun Tzu’s advice to heart. Moreover, they may even be well on the way to perfecting the deployment of intelligence-gathering tools and technologies in their efforts to understand what they view as their enemies. At the same time, those of us who are left of center seem almost to be afraid to understand our opponents, lest the effort involved in gaining that understanding somehow contaminate us. Continue reading