“We who in engage in nonviolent direct action are not the creators of tension. We merely bring to the surface the hidden tension that is already alive.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
People throughout the world turn to nonviolent direct action after the official way of seeking justice (if any existed to begin with) fails to yield positive results. We recently witnessed millions of Women’s March participants throughout the world engage in nonviolent action. Such highly visible events serve as a good reminder that just because it is nonviolent, that doesn’t mean that it is passive.
“In using these methods people either do the unexpected or what they’re forbidden to do, for example demanding coffee at a segregated lunch counter if they’re African American. Or nonviolent action can be refusing to do what they are expected or required to do, like pay a special tax to the English king for the tea they drink.
– Daniel Hunter, “The Power of Nonviolent Direct Action”
Not all nonviolent action is confrontational. It should, however, provoke people into questioning the reality being portrayed by your opponents. Nonviolent actions can include: noncooperation, protest, persuasive influence, and certain types of intervention. The use of these strategies is intended to shift the balance of power. Nonviolent action can changes attitudes of the apathetic, and of opponents. It can lead to compromise in formerly immovable opposition. This strategy is all about reclaiming the power to create a just society.
There are hundreds of types of nonviolent actions. This is not just about large scale events. It is important to remember that a real commitment to nonviolent action means that those who participate in marches and button-wearing, also demonstrate their support those participating in higher-risk actions such as hunger strikes, and civil disobedience that is being met with a violent response. Every action contributes to achieving the ultimate goal.
More Information on Nonviolent Action
Act Up – http://www.actupny.org/documents/CDdocuments/Guidelines.html
Albert Einstein Institution – http://www.aeinstein.org/nonviolentaction/
Metta Center for Nonviolence – http://mettacenter.org/
Nonviolent Action Network – http://nonviolentaction.net/
Nonviolent Campaign Strategy – https://nonviolentstrategy.wordpress.com/
Training for Change – http://www.trainingforchange.org/