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Forum Post: The Power of Nonviolence

Posted 2 years ago on Sept. 14, 2011, 1:45 p.m. EST by anonymous ()
This content is user submitted and not an official statement

So it looks like things are finally starting to shape up! We should be proud of ourselves, really getting pumped. The big day is only a few away. As it approaches, here are some inspiring materials that people may be interested to watch or even bring with them if they can figure out a way to do so. Obviously people have important logistics mustering to do but if you find yourself sitting around with time on your hands and feel like you can use a morale booster or two (perhaps people's internet-/video- capable phones and gadgets during the car ride?), have a look at these videos!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zejD0UkMGGY - This was recent, too. About the protests in Toronto against the G20 summit. I think some lessons that come out of this piece are:

-know your rights. Don't compromise on them. But still be playful and put a smile on the cops faces. -bring cameras! Use them! A lot! Instant-upload features to protect your footage against confiscation are a plus! -cops are people too. Use humor and love to disarm them, to snap them out of their stupid institutional, hierarchical dream that they're in. They're entire existence is pretty much a brainwashed joke anyways, so it really shouldn't be hard to sober them out of it. Just say clever, nonaggressive, unconfrontational things to make them think about what they're doing. Nit the sort of thing that will flair up their defenses right away.. They're human beings just like you and I and they have souls and moral consciences. You just need to find creative ways of getting through to them like Charlie in the film did to a degree. What if we can do better? -Follow-up will beg the issue of the police state. New-yorkers, if you follow-through on police violations like the torontites did in the film, it could set the stage for more (and more successful) of these demonstrations in the future. I believe Toronto will eventually become a safer place for activists and demonstrators because of this. Documentation of what's going on will be crucial for this to be successful. It would be good to warn the cops of how things went down in toronto. Perhaps if anyone has the equipment they can set up a projector and screen this so that the cops will inevitably be exposed to it as well on one of the days.

http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=2300254722104314948 - especially the beginning part.

-most important of all, that it works - it is extremely effective. Also, nonviolence is not weak, it requires great inner strength, resolve, and courage.


-Nonviolence will get covered up and will be starved of exposure because it embarrasses and scares the government. It is the worst kind of humiliation and they are forced to resort to outright lying in order to give the masses an impression that they were defending themselves. If you don't give the big media anything to sensationalize on, all they will have to attract viewers will be police brutality and violence, including arrest. The police and government will look bad to even the obedient masses and they'll be taken less and less seriously by the population, a victory for US.

So join Tank man, Gandhi, MLK, Thoreau, and the Buddha in staying nonviolent. Be a 'soldier of peace', a 'love police-man'.

Peace out, brothas and sistas!



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[-] 1 points by GandhiKingMindset (124) 2 years ago

Thanks for all you’re doing. It is a beautiful thing. Please think like Gandhi and MLK. They were not just skilled religious and moral leaders. They were experts at non-violent peaceful provocation. King and supporters sat at lunch counters and were willing to be jailed to bring heinous practices into the light of day (where they can’t survive). Gandhi and his fellow citizens “made salt” when they were told they couldn’t and were willing to risk arrest and worse. In both cases, the power structure couldn’t lock everyone and the actions of the power structure couldn’t stand the light of day. Gandhi and King FORCED the issue non-violently and peacefully onto the world stage because they a) provoked reaction and b) were willing to go to jail c) adhered to non-violence which gave them moral authority with general public D) their cause was just and most importantly E) they SKILLFULLY PLAYED TO THE PRESS so that the reaction of the oppressor was displayed openly for all to see. I think you should block the entrances to this new green zone they’ve set up around wall st. They can’t expand it forever. They are afraid of your non-violence because it makes them look bad. I urge you to engage in peaceful non-resistance. Get the media near you and then zip tie yourselves together by the hundreds and SHUT DOWN WALL ST FOR A DAY. Yours is a just cause. That little 3 or 4 block area of Wall St is responsible for much of the world’s suffering. We did this in the 80′s with apartheid. I spent quality time with Abbey Hoffman personally discussing his tactics. I’ve studied King and Gandhi relentlessly and I’m telling you, you have them on the run. You have a growing movement and you’re getting the world stage. But now you need to use it.

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

Much Love to you. Great post =)

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

Thanks ;-) Right back at you.

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

Sorry for the formatting faux pas, not sure what really happened.

[-] -1 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

nonviolence will go unnoticed and be trampled under the eco-friendly boots of the angry mob. Exactly which one of the protests you mentioned was really without violence?

[-] 1 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

Well I guess it depends on how you define violence. The intention of my post was to highlight how much the contrary of what you suggested is true. 30 years later we have a moniker for tank man. Can you name - by any handle you so choose - a violent protester of the tiananmen massacre? Yes, plenty of people know malcolm x, though I would guess that more are more familiar with MLK. Also I think most people find those figures inspiring - it's not just that they are noticed, but that on top of that they serve to inspire. Like Julian Assange always says, Courage is contagious. But to continue, Gandhi is certainly the most well-known figure of the indian independence movement more than 60 years later. So if its notice that you're looking for, I'd appreciate some examples on the other side. Also, to get back to a clear definition of violence, I would say you need to hurt someone. Things are not people. Destroying a car did not violate anything except for a machine - someone's earth-killing, fossil-fuel-burning, innocent-political-prisoner-abducting, machine. However, in the film on Toronto, the most memorable characters in my mind, the ones that really stuck, crystal clear, up to now, were not the ones that smashed cars and store-fronts, they were the ones that used love and humor, the ones that put their heads in front of the riot police, the ones that really tried to engage and touch other people's (including policemen's) souls.

[-] 1 points by DanRose (33) 2 years ago

What is more important - being remember and renowned? Or being effective at preventing injustice?

[-] 0 points by anonymous () 2 years ago

Remember how "tank man" prevented the massacre and how in the two decades after China has become a shining beacon of freedom in East Asia.

I think most people are familiar with Nelson Mandela who was a leader and founder of Umkhonto we Sizwe, the militant arm of the African National Congress.

You say about how MLK is familiar. Do you ever ask your self why? Or why Gandhi is so renowned while Bhagat Singh is unknown? Couldn't it be that their forms of resistance are championed because power recognizes them as ineffectual?

[-] 1 points by anonymous () 2 years ago


For a more complete analysis of non-violence and violence: http://agamsterdam.wordpress.com/teksten/how-nonviolence-protects-the-state/

However, I'm not saying that violence is the right thing in this protest. In fact, I think they may have more to gain from creative protest: These are young people with high education degrees. They are not desperate or suppressed enough to be willing to suffer severe penalty, not really. If this protest gets bitter, they'll run. And that is expected and somewhat reasonable. But tactics can change as other groups join in. And then you need may need to consider a fuller spectrum of tactics than the non-violent strategy has.