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    not found Please check the address and try again or use the menu on the left to locate the page Note that this website was reconfigured in November 2007 so many files have moved to new locations You should be

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  • Why Nonviolence?: Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy - Introduction
    Millions in Poland Bolivia and elsewhere have made gains against or even overthrown oppressive regimes through nonviolent action The award winning film Gandhi has revived interest in one of the greatest pioneers of nonviolent struggle Some 110 000 copies of a newsprint tabloid version of this document have been distributed and it has been reprinted in magazine pamphlet or book form on at least three continents For many people nonviolence remains mysterious controversial or both This paper provides a short introduction to nonviolent struggle and to some of its contemporary applications so as to help dispel some of the mystery and clarify the controversies Although in historical terms nonviolence is still comparatively young it has already proven to be a significant form of struggle Its nature and potential deserve to be better understood In the first part of this paper we survey the history methods and varieties of nonviolence In the second part we discuss its theory of power and dynamics some important cases of its use and its future potential In the last part we suggest answers to some questions readers may have Within our severe limitations of space we have said relatively little about nonviolent personal philosophies We

    Original URL path: http://www.vernalproject.org/papers/understanding/WhyNV/WhyNonviolence2.html (2016-04-30)
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  • Why Nonviolence?: Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy - History and Methods
    of nonviolence and nonviolent methods In fact despite the many violent aspects of American history of which we have become increasingly aware in recent years the U S has its own native tradition of nonviolence Staughton Lynd has noted that America has more often been the teacher than the student of the nonviolent ideal Nonviolence in America Nonviolent currents in American history using nonviolent in the specific sense rather than meaning anything not violent include the following 1 The use of methods which in retrospect we recognize as nonviolent The movement for women s rights during the nineteenth century used civil disobedience tax refusal and public demonstrations Alice Paul s Woman s Party used the vigil and hunger strike to exert pressure on behalf of women s right to vote During the Great Depression of the 1930s the sit down strike was used as a way to force recognition of workers rights Less well known but highly significant was the plan of struggle called the Continental Association adopted in October 1774 Delegates from the thirteen colonies agreed on a program which included both economic boycotts nonconsumption nonimportation and nonexportation and social boycotts and other sanctions against those reluctant to comply Their program was the major pre Gandhian campaign to include planned strategic phasing of the struggle 2 The participation of adherents of nonviolence in important struggles Examples already mentioned include the struggle for the abolition of slavery for women s suffrage for the rights of labor and for civil liberties Many organizations and institutions grew out of pacifist commitments including Brookwood Labor College the first residential labor college in America National Conference of Christians and Jews American Civil Liberties Union American Committee on Africa Society for Social Responsibility in Science and the Congress of Racial Equality Many fought for racial justice others for admission of Jewish refugees during the 1930s Opposition to war and violence logically drew people to work actively against other kinds of injustice Although frequently undramatic the work accomplished by such people has contributed substantially to the betterment of society 3 Actions and campaigns undertaken or directed by explicitly nonviolent leadership During World War II and shortly thereafter militant pacifists succeeded in ending racial segregation in prisons where they themselves were held and took part in the first Freedom Rides to desegregate interstate transportation The most dramatic nonviolent actions of the 1950s were several voyages into nuclear testing areas by small vessels with pacifist crews In a time when nuclear war seemed a fate humanity was powerless to overcome these actions gave expression to the widespread yearning to act against the madness of testing and the arms race Although in each case the boats were prevented from reaching their destinations the powerful symbolism of the voyages succeeded in boosting the morale of the anti nuclear movement thus giving a real impetus to the public sentiment which resulted in the 1963 test ban treaty Nonviolent activists also provided inspiration through examples of courage and by taking on personal

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  • Why Nonviolence?: Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy - Theory and Dynamics
    in understanding these dynamics Gene Sharp s later chapter titles in The Politics of Nonviolent Action provide a convenient outline laying the groundwork for nonviolent action challenge brings repression solidarity and discipline to fight repression political jujitsu and ways that success may be achieved In a planned nonviolent campaign laying the groundwork is fundamentally important This means defining goals and objectives choosing strategy and tactics making contingency plans training etc Nonviolence is not magic it is a way of mobilizing the strength we have for maximum effectiveness Whether nonviolent action starts as a popular initiative to which authorities then react or is an improvised public response to an event the outline above shows that the initial action and reaction are only the beginning Taking the case of a nuclear power plant site occupation as an example along with the leading actors who clash with each other there are also anti nuclear activists who are not committing civil disobedience but playing active support roles potential participants who didn t feel enough urgency or sense of being needed to take part in the particular action people who would like to see an end to nuclear power but don t plan to do anything about it people oblivious to the issue people hostile to environmentalists who delay needed progress people who say lawbreakers should be punished but will limit themselves to griping on down to utility executives the governor s staff bank presidents etc There are also police and perhaps National Guardspeople whose job it is to counter the demonstrators but whose personal attitudes may lie anywhere on the spectrum Figure 1 shows how activists seek to influence people with various viewpoints along this spectrum The actions of the main social actors potentially affect all these people The outbreak of conflict draws attention to the issue In an important respect the two sides are not fighting each other directly but also competing with each other for the allegiance and support of third parties or the general public To gain their desired result agents of repression must make the activists lose their solidarity and abandon their goals If they maintain solidarity and discipline repression becomes ineffective But solidarity alone does not bring success That may come through a kind of political jujitsu in which the repressive efforts themselves tend to shift the balance of power toward the nonviolent activists People on the side of the activists increase their level of involvement while those allied with the oppressive power may reduce their support or switch sides Shifts of attitude are important as well as shifts of behavior because both sides adjust their actions according to how they gauge their support Nonviolent action is not dependent on the opponent s being repressive or making mistakes It is not stymied when the opponent is moderate and conciliatory Most of the methods mobilize political strength regardless of the opponent s response This brings us to the question of how nonviolent action may attain its goals Three main ways

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  • Why Nonviolence?: Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy - Q & A
    long term effectiveness clearly requires openness One aspect of this deserves particular attention relations with police and other authorities It can be argued that police are not impartial enforcers of justice but rather agents of an unjust system whose authority should therefore not be respected Working with police by informing them of our plans is interpreted as making their job easier accepting their authority and thus lending support to the system we should be fighting The first point is sound but not the conclusions Because police violence in tense conflicts often results from fear and ignorance though often it s ordered from above it s in our interests to have accurate communication Secondly although agents of a system may sometimes symbolize and seem to embody it they must not be confused with the system itself or the real power structure Police however brutally some behave are also pawns who should be challenged to stop acting against their own best interests Militant hostility toward police is misplaced the truly transformative slogan is Join us Q Isn t it foolish to try to practice nonviolence before we have replaced all ill will in our hearts with love A Any choice has risks including the evils of inaction Gandhi frankly spoke of experiments Because behavior and attitudes influence each other substituting nonviolent struggle in place of violence or submission is progress toward a loving world too distant to reach in one leap When understood as a requirement for nonviolent action rather than a helpful refinement the demand for love for people who have done cruel things may turn people who are justifiably bitter and unable to love their opponents toward violence as the technique most consistent with bitterness and hatred Sharp p 635 Q Demanding nonviolent behavior from oppressed people toward their oppressors is senseless and unfair They need to act out their anger A The logic and function of nonviolent discipline has already been discussed As for unfairness if the oppressed could wish it away they would no longer be oppressed There is no pain free road to liberation Given the inevitability of suffering it is both ennobling and pragmatic to present nonviolent discipline and suffering as did Martin Luther King Jr as imperatives Acting out anger in a way that costs a group allies is a luxury serious movements cannot afford For women concerned that nonviolent struggle may set them up to be victims it is important to stress the assertiveness involved in nonviolent action Feminist theoretician Barbara Deming has written that nonviolent actions are by their nature androgynous In them the two impulses that have long been treated as distinct masculine and feminine the impulse of self assertion and the impulse of sympathy are clearly joined the very genius of nonviolence in fact is that it demonstrates them to be indivisible and so restores human community One asserts one s rights as a human being but asserts them precisely with consideration for the other asserts them that is precisely as

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  • Why Nonviolence?: Introduction to Nonviolence Theory and Strategy - Recommended Reading
    Useful general introduction to nonviolent action Joan Bondurant Conquest of Violence revised ed 1965 Gandhian nonviolence Robert Cooney and Helen Michalowski The Power of the People Active Nonviolence in the United States 1977 Inspiring political history with fine text Dave Dellinger Revolutionary Nonviolence 1970 Outstanding political essays Barbara Deming We Are All Part of One Another A Barbara Deming Reader 1984 The most important feminist theoretician of nonviolence Susanne Gowan

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