The power of nonviolence

Suffering often conjures up images of moving and exceptional feats of self-sacrifice, for example the Gandhian hunger-strike or the US Civil Rights activists enduring beatings.

The open and continual contestation for power fuels resentments, antagonism and polarisation. The superiority of numbers that so potently expressed mass dissent risks turning into majoritarian displays of power.

Movements began to see nonviolence as a useful tactic rather than a defining creed. Military force became unreliable as an arbiter of political conflict. Globalization activists face hard choices now as they contemplate the future of the movement.

It could be adopted for pragmatic reasons but its use did not require moral conviction in nonviolence. God grant that as men and women all over the world struggle against evil systems they will struggle with love in their hearts, with understanding good will.

The Power of Nonviolence: Writings by Advocates of Peace

Some forms of damage, such as hammering the nose cones of nuclear missiles, may be morally appropriate if conducted in a Gandhian spirit of respect for the adversary. It helped to circulate Gandhian methods in the US and aided the emergence of African-American nonviolence.

Discipline mattered both in the organisation of the protest and in the comportment — and constraint — of the protestors. We have a great opportunity in America to build here a great nation, a nation where all men live together as brothers and respect the dignity and worth of all human personality.

Suffering can weaken entrenched positions.

The power of nonviolence

To submit a correction for our consideration, click here. Nonviolent action is a proven way to organise and display political strength and power. Support Aeon Donate now No political action seems to enjoy greater moral authority than the nonviolent methods Mahatma Gandhi inaugurated more than a century ago.

While this term itself never caught on, in principle or form, nonviolent models of organising protest did. The legitimate search for assertive and disruptive methods can and should proceed, but this must not be confused with vandalism and violence.

Unlike brute force or direct confrontation that can stiffen resistance, Gandhi said that suffering works by: Activists have complained about the biased media coverage they received in Genoa and other cities, but such bias should come as no surprise.

Why did these movements return to nonviolence as a strategy for contesting power? Suffering, however, was important politically. This was the logic of non-cooperation. We must keep moving toward that goal. As the use of force became fraught with negative, even perverse, consequences, nonviolence became the only real option for insurgent politics.

Moreover, insurgent movements, movements that question the status quo, suffer a triple burden. For the past generation, Gene Sharp has been the most well-known and effective disseminator of this view.

This method is nonaggressive physically but strongly aggressive spiritually. The moral superiority of nonviolence is often evoked to condemn violent resistance and discredit unruly activists. Beginning in the late s, doubts about nonviolence peaked as radical politics around the world embraced and celebrated armed struggles for national liberation, especially the anti-colonial movements in Vietnam and Algeria.

Through bodies and action, it reveals where political power truly lies: These anti-authoritarian struggles linked nonviolence to processes of democratisation. The overwhelming military might of imperial powers proved futile in the face of determined, popular opposition.

The Power of Nonviolence

It changes the tenor and dynamics of political contestation. Now people used to ask me from the beginning what do you mean by love and how is it that you can tell us to love those persons who seek to defeat us and those persons who stand against us; how can you love such persons?

To win in nuclear terms meant the annihilation of the victors and the defeated alike. At the same time, political contestation generates and is exacerbated by resentments and egoistic sentiments.

It has positive strategic and tactical effects in politics. Ironically, nonviolent politics can actually face more hurdles in democracies. With the advent of nuclear weapons, the irony was complete.

But that has not happened. It has also shown that force alone can neither induce popular consent nor reliably secure political victory. Sharp sees suffering as part and parcel of principled nonviolence.MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR., “THE POWER OF NONVIOLENCE” () The Greek language uses three words for love.

It talks about is a sort of aesthetic love. It has come to us to be a sort of romantic love and it stands with all of its beauty.

Oct 18,  · People power is the sustained, strategic application of a variety of nonviolent tactics, including civil disobedience, boycotts, strikes and noncooperation.

The power of nonviolence Nonviolent politics have unique power to change the world, but they require strategic suffering and ascetic self-mastery. This lesson introduces students to Martin Luther King, Jr.'s philosophy of nonviolence and the teachings of Mohandas K.

Gandhi that influenced King's views. After considering the political impact of this philosophy, students explore its relevance to personal life. This article, based on King's. The Power of Nonviolence turns to wisdom teachings across our great spiritual traditions for guidance on how the lasting wounds can be healed.

- 13 - The Power of Nonviolence. FOREWORD FOR THE INDIAN EDITION THE MOVEMENT OF ideas and their development into action is a fascinating study.

One such idea is that of non-violence.

It apparently originated among a few of the forest sages of India about three thousand years ago. It was recorded in the Upanishads.

The power of nonviolence
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