This essay distinguishes two main forms of pacifism, personal pacifism and political pacifism. It then contrasts the views on self-defense of political pacifism and just war theory, paying special attention to notions of the state and sovereignty.
Alice Hertz was a woman who, in 1965, burned herself in protest against the Vietnam War. I first became aware of her through studying the writings of Dorothy Day, the founder of the CatholicWorker Movement and a central figure in the history of nonviolence. In this essay I reflect on how Alice Hertz's action and Dorothy Day's vision of nonviolent commitment can each illuminate the other.