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Forum Post: HERE'S WHAT WORKS: Let's create some SERIOUS TENSION - but in a special way

Posted 2 years ago on March 3, 2012, 6:47 a.m. EST by therising (6643)
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

Both Martin Luther King, Jr. and Gandhi along with their followers helped make major changes through strategic nonviolent protests.

Martin Luther King, Jr. said this about creating tension:

"Nonviolent direct action seeks to create such a crisis and foster such a tension that a community which has constantly refused to negotiate is forced to confront the issue. It seeks to so dramatize the issue that it can no longer be ignored. My citing the creation of tension as part of the work of the nonviolent-resister may sound rather shocking. But I must confess that I am not afraid of the word "tension." I have earnestly opposed violent tension, but there is a type of constructive, nonviolent tension which is necessary for growth. Just as Socrates felt that it was necessary to create a tension in the mind so that individuals could rise from the bondage of myths and half-truths to the unfettered realm of creative analysis and objective appraisal, we must we see the need for nonviolent gadflies to create the kind of tension in society that will help men rise from the dark depths of prejudice and racism to the majestic heights of understanding and brotherhood."

"The purpose of our direct-action program is to create a situation so crisis-packed that it will inevitably open the door to negotiation. I therefore concur with you in your call for negotiation."

Here's the entire "Letter from the Birmingham Jail": http://abacus.bates.edu/admin/offices/dos/mlk/letter.html . It's a treasure and is as timely as ever.

Direct action with large numbers of people can make a real difference. Consider this other quote from Martin Luther King, Jr., an occupier from back in the day: "A delegation of poor people can walk into a high official’s office with a carefully, collectively prepared list of demands. (If you’re poor, if you’re unemployed anyway, you can choose to stay in Washington as long as the struggle needs you.) And if that official says, ‘But Congress would have to approve this,’ or, ‘But the President would have to be consulted on that,’ you can say, ‘All right, we’ll wait.’ And you can settle down in his office for as long a stay as necessary."

What we're talking about here is forcing the hand of congress nonviolently as has been done before. Gandhi and King's tactics work. So do Gene Sharp's. Let's use them.

So what would an example of this be in today's times? Check this out: http://occupywallst.org/forum/fresh-thread-forum-post-below-received-over-2000-c/

5 Comments

5 Comments


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[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Most know of this occupation (aka sit-down strike) at the GM Fisher Body #1 die plant in Flint, MI on December 31, 1936. As you'll read, this was a well-planned effort by the auto workers. They went right at the heart of GM with this strike. We can take the lesson and apply it to our needs.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flint_Sit-Down_Strike

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

Beautiful. I am all for this!!

[-] 1 points by ThunderclapNewman (1083) from Nanty Glo, PA 2 years ago

Maximize human resources in optimum locations for greatest benefit

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

It works. So let's use this proven playbook.

[-] 1 points by therising (6643) 2 years ago

The good kind of tension that King and Gandhi used yields real results. Note: they were always careful to have some key reporters around at these moments. They skillfully utilized the press to get their message out.