Wikia

Psychology Wiki

Nonviolence

Talk0
34,135pages on
this wiki

Redirected from Non-violent resistance

Assessment | Biopsychology | Comparative | Cognitive | Developmental | Language | Individual differences | Personality | Philosophy | Social |
Methods | Statistics | Clinical | Educational | Industrial | Professional items | World psychology |

Social psychology: Altruism · Attribution · Attitudes · Conformity · Discrimination · Groups · Interpersonal relations · Obedience · Prejudice · Norms · Perception · Index · Outline


This article needs rewriting to enhance its relevance to psychologists..
Please help to improve this page yourself if you can..


Main article: Psychology and nonviolence


Nonviolence (or non-violence) is a moral philosophy that rejects the use of violence in efforts to attain social or political change, and proclaims others means such as disobedience or the power of persuasion. While frequently used as a synonym for pacifism, since the mid 20th century the term nonviolence has come to embody a diversity of techniques for waging for social change without the use of violence, as well as the underlying political and philosophical rationale for the use of these techniques.

As a technique for social struggle, disobedience associated with nonviolence often refers to the campaign for Indian independence led by Mohandas Gandhi, and to the struggle to attain civil rights for African Americans, led by Martin Luther King. The former was influenced by Leo Tolstoy's Christian anarchism ideas of nonresistance based on the Sermon on the Mount.

On November 10th, 1998, the United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the first decade of the 21st century and the third millennium, the years 2001 to 2010, as the International Decade for the Promotion of a Culture of Peace and Non-Violence for the Children of the World.

How does nonviolence work?Edit

The nonviolent approach to social struggle represents a radical departure from conventional thinking about conflict, and yet appeals to a number of common-sense notions.

Among these is the idea that the power of rulers depends on the consent of the populace. Without a bureaucracy, an army or a police force to carry out his or her wishes, the ruler is powerless. Power, nonviolence teaches us, depends on the co-operation of others. Nonviolence undermines the power of rulers through the deliberate withdrawal of this co-operation.

Also of primary significance is the notion that just means are the most likely to lead to just ends. When Gandhi said that, "the means may be likened to the seed, the end to a tree," he expressed the philosophical kernel of what some refer to as prefigurative politics. Proponents of nonviolence reason that the actions we take in the present inevitably re-shape the social order in like form. They would argue, for instance, that it is fundamentally irrational to use violence to achieve a peaceful society.

Some proponents of nonviolence advocate respect or love for opponents. It is this principle which is most closely associated with spiritual or religious justifications of nonviolence, as may be seen in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus urges his followers to "love thine enemy," in the Taoist concept of wu-wei, or effortless action, in the philosophy of the martial art Aikido, in the Buddhist principle of metta, or loving-kindness towards all beings, and in the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence toward any being, shared by Buddhism, Jainism and some forms of Hinduism. Respect or love for opponents also has a pragmatic justification, in that the technique of separating the deeds from the doers allows for the possibility of the doers changing their behaviour, and perhaps their beliefs. As Martin Luther King said, "Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him." The Christian focus on both non-violence and forgiveness of sin may have found their way into the story of Abel in the Qur'an. Liberal movements within Islam have consequently used this story to promote Islamic ideals of non-violence.

Finally, the notion of Satya, or truth, is central to the Gandhian conception of nonviolence. Gandhi saw truth as something that is multifaceted and unable to be grasped in its entirety by any one individual. We all carry pieces of the truth, he believed, but we need the pieces of others’ truths in order to pursue the greater truth. This led him to a belief in the inherent worth of dialogue with opponents, and a sincere wish to understand their drives and motivations. On a practical level, willingness to listen to another's point of view is largely dependent on reciprocity. In order to be heard by one's opponents, one must also be prepared to listen.

In green politics nonviolence has a central role and it is one of the key values of the green political movement.

Why nonviolence?Edit

Most advocates of nonviolence draw their preference for nonviolence either from religious or ethical beliefs, or from a pragmatic political analysis. The first justification for nonviolence is sometimes referred to as principled or ethical nonviolence, while the second is known as pragmatic or strategic. However, it is not uncommon to find both of these dimensions present within the thinking of particular movements or individuals.

In the west, nonviolence has been used extensively by the labour, peace, environment and women's movements. Less well known is the role that nonviolence has played and continues to play in undermining the power of repressive political regimes in the developing world and the former eastern bloc:

In 1989, thirteen nations comprising 1,695,000,000 people experienced nonviolent revolutions that succeeded beyond anyone's wildest expectations ... If we add all the countries touched by major nonviolent actions in our century (the Philippines, South Africa ... the independence movement in India ...) the figure reaches 3,337,400,000, a staggering 65% of humanity! All this in the teeth of the assertion, endlessly repeated, that nonviolence doesn't work in the 'real' world.
(Walter Wink, as quoted by Susan Ives in a 2001 talk)

Nonviolence scholar Gene Sharp, in his book The Politics of Nonviolent Action, suggests that the conspicuous absence of nonviolence from mainstream historical study may be due to the fact that elite interests are not served by the dissemination of techniques for social struggle that rely on the collective power of a mobilised citizenry rather than access to wealth or weaponry.

How does nonviolence work?Edit

The nonviolent approach to social struggle represents a radical departure from conventional thinking about conflict, and yet appeals to a number of common-sense notions.

Among these is the idea that the power of rulers depends on the consent of the populace. Without a bureaucracy, an army or a police force to carry out his or her wishes, the ruler is powerless. Power, nonviolence teaches us, depends on the co-operation of others. Nonviolence undermines the power of rulers through the deliberate withdrawal of this co-operation.

Also of primary significance is the notion that just means are the most likely to lead to just ends. When Gandhi said that, "the means may be likened to the seed, the end to a tree," he expressed the philosophical kernel of what some refer to as prefigurative politics. Proponents of nonviolence reason that the actions we take in the present inevitably re-shape the social order in like form. They would argue, for instance, that it is fundamentally irrational to use violence to achieve a peaceful society.

Some proponents of nonviolence advocate respect or love for opponents. It is this principle which is most closely associated with spiritual or religious justifications of nonviolence, as may be seen in the Sermon on the Mount when Jesus urges his followers to "love thine enemy," in the Taoist concept of wu-wei, or effortless action, in the philosophy of the martial art Aikido, in the Buddhist principle of metta, or loving-kindness towards all beings, and in the principle of ahimsa, or non-violence toward any being, shared by Buddhism, Jainism and some forms of Hinduism. Respect or love for opponents also has a pragmatic justification, in that the technique of separating the deeds from the doers allows for the possibility of the doers changing their behaviour, and perhaps their beliefs. As Martin Luther King said, "Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of spirit. You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him." The Christian focus on both non-violence and forgiveness of sin may have found their way into the story of Abel in the Qur'an. Liberal movements within Islam have consequently used this story to promote Islamic ideals of non-violence.

Finally, the notion of Satya, or truth, is central to the Gandhian conception of nonviolence. Gandhi saw truth as something that is multifaceted and unable to be grasped in its entirety by any one individual. We all carry pieces of the truth, he believed, but we need the pieces of others’ truths in order to pursue the greater truth. This led him to a belief in the inherent worth of dialogue with opponents, and a sincere wish to understand their drives and motivations. On a practical level, willingness to listen to another's point of view is largely dependent on reciprocity. In order to be heard by one's opponents, one must also be prepared to listen.

In green politics nonviolence has a central role and it is one of the key values of the green political movement.

The methods of nonviolent actionEdit

Nonviolent action generally consists of three categories: protest and persuasion, noncooperation, and intervention. Hunger strikes, pickets, vigils, petitions, sit-ins, tax refusal, go slows, blockades, draft refusal and demonstrations are some of the specific techniques that have been deployed by nonviolent movements. Throughout history, these are among the nonviolent methods used by ordinary people to counter injustice or oppression or bring about progressive change.

To be effective, tactics must be carefully chosen, taking into account political and cultural circumstances, and form part of a larger plan or strategy. Walter Wink points to Jesus Christ as an early nonviolence strategist. Many of his teachings on nonviolence are revealed to be quite sophisticated when the cultural circumstances are understood. For example, among the people he was speaking to, if by collecting debts a person drove someone indebted to him to be naked, great shame fell on the debt collector -- not the naked man. So Jesus' suggestion - that if someone asks you for your coat you give him your clothes as well - was a way to bring shame upon the debt-collector and symbolically reverse the power relation. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

This kind of creativity is typical of nonviolent movements. Aristophanes' Lysistrata gives the fictional example of women withholding sexual favours from their husbands until war was abandoned.

A useful source of inspiration, for those seeking the best nonviolent tactics to deploy, is Gene Sharp’s list of 198 methods of nonviolent action, which includes symbolic, political, economic and physical actions.

Activist/researcher George Lakey says there are three applications of nonviolent action, for:

  • social defense (as in protection of a neighborhood or country from outside invaders);
  • social change (its most known form, for advocating either reform or revolutionary changes); and
  • third-party nonviolent intervention.

[How to reference and link to summary or text]

This latter has been used as a method of intervention across borders to deter attack and promote peaceful resolution of conflicts. This has met with several failures (at least on the level of deterring attack) such as the Human Shields in Iraq, but also many successes, such as the work of Project Accompaniment in Guatemala. Currently there are several non-governmental organizations working in this area, including, for example: Peace Brigades International and the Nonviolent Peaceforce. The primary tactics that they employ are unarmed accompaniment and human rights observation/reporting.

There are also many other great nonviolence leaders and theorists who have thought deeply about the spiritual and practical aspects of nonviolence, including: Leo Tolstoy, Lech Wałęsa, Petra Kelly, Thich Nhat Hanh, Dorothy Day, Ammon Hennacy, Albert Einstein, John Howard Yoder, Stanley Hauerwas, David McReynolds, Johan Galtung, Martin Luther King Jr., Mahatma Gandhi, Ida Ford, Daniel Berrigan,Bacha Khan, and César Chávez.

Many leftist and socialist movements have hoped to mount a "peaceful revolution" by organizing enough strikers to completely paralyze it. With the state and corporate apparatus thus crippled, the workers would be able to re-organize society along radically different lines. [How to reference and link to summary or text]

Living nonviolenceEdit

The embeddedness of violence in most of the world's populous societies causes many to consider it an inherent part of human nature, but others (Riane Eisler, Walter Wink, Daniel Quinn) have suggested that violence - or at least the arsenal of violent strategies we take for granted - is a phenomenon of the last five to ten thousand years, and was not present in pre-domestication and early post-domestication human societies. This view shares several characteristics with the Victorian ideal of the Noble Savage.

For many practitioners, practicing nonviolence goes deeper than withholding from violent behavior or words. It means caring in one's heart for everyone, even those one strongly disagrees with. One implication of this is the necessity of caring for those who are not practicing nonviolence. Of course no one can simply will themselves to have such care, and this is one of the great personal challenges posed by nonviolence - once one believes in nonviolence in theory, how can the person live it?

Part of the Politics series on Green politics

A sunflower-Edited

Topics

Green movement
Green party
List of Green topics

Schools

Green anarchism
Ecofeminism
Eco-socialism
Green syndicalism
Green liberalism
Green conservatism

Organizations

Global Greens · Africa · Americas · Asia-Pacific · Europe

Principles

Four Pillars
Global Greens Charter: ecological wisdom
social justice
participatory democracy
nonviolence
sustainability
respect diversity


Politics Portal ·


Green Politics and NonviolenceEdit

Nonviolence has been a central concept in green political philosophy. It is included in the Global Greens Charter. Greens believe that society should reject the current patterns of violence and embrace nonviolence. Green Philosophy draws heavily on both Gandhi and the Quaker traditions, which advocate measures by which the escalation of violence can be avoided, while not cooperating with those who commit violence. These greens believe that the current patterns of violence are incompatible with a sustainable society because it uses up limited resources and many forms of violence, especially nuclear weapons, are damaging for the environment.

Some green political parties, like the Dutch GroenLinks, evolved out of the cooperation of peace movement and the environmental movement in their resistance to nuclear weapons and nuclear energy.

Many greens also apply this principle to their own political action. Even radical green groups like Earth First! have always specifically used non-violent direct action, such as "spiking" trees to prevent logging, dam-building and other forms of development and to garner attention for green political issues.

CriticismEdit

Leon Trotsky, Frantz Fanon, Reinhold Niebuhr, Subhash Chandra Bose, Ward Churchill and Malcolm X were fervent critics of nonviolence, arguing variously that nonviolence and pacifism are an attempt to impose the morals of the bourgeoisie upon the proletariat, that violence is a necessary accompaniment to revolutionary change, or that the right to self-defence is fundamental.

In the midst of violent repression of radical African Americans in the United States during the 1960s,,,, Black Panther member George Jackson said of the nonviolent tactics of Martin Luther King, Jr.:

"The concept of nonviolence is a false ideal. It presupposes the existence of compassion and a sense of justice on the part of one's adversary. When this adversary has everything to lose and nothing to gain by exercising justice and compassion, his reaction can only be negative."

Malcolm X also clashed with civil rights leaders over the issue of nonviolence, arguing that violence should not be ruled out where no option remained:

"Concerning nonviolence, it is criminal to teach a man not to defend himself when he is the constant victim of brutal attacks."

A new generation of historians of the civil rights movement criticise nonviolence as a failed strategy and argue that black armed self-defense and civil violence motivated civil rights reforms more than peaceful appeals to morality and reason (see Lance Hill's "Deacons for Defense")link title[1].

The efficacy of nonviolence was also challenged by anti-capitalist protestors advocating a "diversity of tactics" during street demonstrations across Europe and the US following the anti-World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, Washington in 1999. American feminist writer D. A. Clarke, in her essay "A Woman With A Sword," suggests that for nonviolence to be effective, it must be "practiced by those who could easily resort to force if they chose." This argument reasons that nonviolent tactics will be of little or no use to groups that are traditionally considered incapable of violence, since nonviolence will be in keeping with people's expectations for them and thus go unnoticed.

Niebuhr's criticism of nonviolence, expressed most clearly in Moral Man and Immoral Society (1932) is based on his view of human nature as innately selfish, an updated version of the Christian doctrine of original sin. Advocates of nonviolence generally do not accept the doctrine of original sin (though Martin Luther King, Jr., did accept a modified version of Niebuhr's teachings on the subject).

One of the possible reasons that such criticisms are levelled against nonviolence is that it tends to be a slow, gradual means of achieving political change, and thus the connection between action and effect is less apparent than for violence. In addition, one of the most notable successes of nonviolent protests, the United States Civil Rights Movement, was orchestrated against a comparatively liberal government, which actively supported, to some extent, the movement against it. However, nonviolence did prove beneficial in the liberation of India from the repression of British colonial rule during the twentieth century. Another possible reason is that there are many different nonviolent strategies, and selecting strategies which work in a particular situation can be difficult, hence nonviolence does not always succeed - even though the same is true for violent means of social change.

Advocates of nonviolence have argued that many critics of nonviolence focus their critique on the moral justifications for nonviolence while neglecting to examine the practical political advantages of nonviolence as a technique for social struggle. Some critics falsely tend to ignore the historical success of nonviolence against dictators and repressive governments, they say.

The specific criticism that nonviolence is a form of passivity can be countered by noting that successful nonviolent campaigns have often centred around actively depriving a ruling regime of financial income (as in Gandhi's breaking of the salt tax), or the cooperation necessary to run industrial infrastructure. In this context nonviolence can be viewed as a form of attack on the command structure of a government or regime, rather than upon its personnel.

Gandhi made it clear that he did not assume any compassion or sense of justice on the part of his adversary. His philosophy of nonviolence focused almost entirely on the changes that the oppressed should make in their behavior. Whatever changes the oppressor might make are beyond the control of the oppressed, he taught. Therefore the moral (or immoral) qualities of the oppressor are quite irrelevant. Gandhi also made it clear that the value of nonviolence is not found primarily in its ability to achieve political change. Therefore, he argued, those who criticize it for its lack of practical efficacy are judging it by the wrong criteria.

Victims of NonviolenceEdit

A much-debated topic is the issue of violence against objects, as opposed to against people. Some consider that damage to property falls within the scope of nonviolent action, while others refrain from such actions.

For example, burning down a house or blowing up a car or a train, is nonviolent as long as the perpetrator believes that the owner and their friends are not in the car or house or train, as in Nelson Mandela's philosophy in the running of the African Liberation Organization. Thus, one can pretend to be nonviolent while actually practicing terrorism.

Also, if the weapons used aren't as developed as that of the opposition (such as Palestinians throwing rocks at Israeli troops) they can be considered nonviolent acts.

Organizations promoting nonviolenceEdit

See alsoEdit

Further readingEdit

  • ISBN 0-87558-070-X Power and Struggle (Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part 1) by Gene Sharp
  • ISBN 0-87558-071-8 Methods of Nonviolent Action (Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part 2) by Gene Sharp
  • ISBN 0-87558-072-6 Dynamics of Nonviolent Action (Politics of Nonviolent Action, Part 3) by Gene Sharp
  • ISBN 0-87558-162-5 Waging Nonviolent Struggle: 20th Century Practice And 21st Century Potential by Gene Sharp with collaboration of Joshua Paulson and the assistance of Christopher A. Miller and Hardy Merriman
  • ISBN 0-8166-4193-5 Unarmed Insurrections: People Power Movements in Non-Democracies by Kurt Schock
  • ISBN 0-8006-3609-0 Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets) by Walter Wink
  • ISBN 1-57075-315-6 Peace Is the Way: Writings on Nonviolence from the Fellowship of Reconciliation by Fellowship of Reconciliation (U. S.)
  • ISBN 1-57075-547-7 American Nonviolence: The History of an Idea by Ira Chernus
  • ISBN 0-67964-335-4 Nonviolence: 25 Lessons from the History of a Dangerous Idea by Mark Kurlansky
  • OCLC 03859761 The Kingdom of God is within You by Leo Tolstoy

External linksEdit

es:No violencia eo:Senperforto fr:Non-violence ko:비폭력주의he:אי-אלימות nl:Geweldloosheidno:Ikkevold pt:Não-violência ru:Ненасилие (хартия Зелёных) sr:Ненасиље sh:Nenasilje sv:Ickevåld

This page uses Creative Commons Licensed content from Wikipedia (view authors).

Around Wikia's network

Random Wiki