Why violence doesn’t work
Essential article on why non-violence is the only effective long-term strategy for campaign groups – taken from the website of Nonviolence United.
Visit www.nonviolenceunited.org/nonviolenceguide.htm for the article in full.
Nonviolence works to win the support of people and society; we want people to join us. Whereas violence has the opposite effect — most people don’t want violence in their lives.
Nonviolence promotes love and compassion; violence promotes hate and fear.
Nonviolence is like a glass of clean water. Even one drop of blood (violence) makes all of the water bloody. Once you bloody the water it takes enormous amounts of clean water without any additional blood to hope to ever again have clean water. And even then, it will never be completely clean.
When you are perceived as part of a movement and you are violent, the movement is perceived as violent regardless of the ratio of violence to Nonviolence.
“I object to violence because when it appears to do good, the good is only temporary; the evil it does is permanent.” – Mohandas Gandhi
All over the world lasting, positive change is the result not of trillion-dollar armies, but of Nonviolent people power. Why don’t we hear about these remarkable revolutions? The information blackout is no accident. Perhaps we don’t learn about Nonviolent revolution because… it works! Nonviolent people power can change the world. That’s a scary thought for the miniscule minority hanging on for dear life to the helm of power.
Nonviolence can be a way of life. And Nonviolence can be a strategy. But for powerful, long-lasting change, Nonviolence as a way of life is the strategy.
“Violence is a method by which the ruthless few can sudue the passive many. Nonviolence is a means by which the active many can overcome the ruthless few.”
“We are convinced that non-violence is more powerful than violence. We are convinced that non-violence supports you if you have a just and moral cause…If you use violence, you have to sell part of yourself for that violence. Then you are no longer a master of your own struggle.” – Cesar Chavez
Nonviolence groups are often deliberately infiltrated by members of the violent opposition hoping to dismantle the movement. It is often easy to recognize these infiltrators because they will advocate and provoke violence pretending that violence will lead to justice, but knowing it will cause society to turn against the movement. When we practice Nonviolence, we quickly expose our opponents.
Violence is easier, but it makes everyone’s job harder.
An oppressor (whether a government, an industry or an individual) has no power if we don’t give it to them. Stop giving it to them. This is a very basic component of Nonviolence — non-cooperation with the oppressor.
Nonviolence isn’t about winning power over your opponents; it is about attaining a more just society… together. Your fellow humans are not the enemy. The enemy is violence.
It’s only right to be outraged by injustice. Anger provides powerful energy — use it wisely. Transform your anger into creative Nonviolent ways to be active, focused and more effective. This transformation will help you sustain your energy and your hope.