10 Things to Know About Nonviolent Struggle

By Rivera Sun / commondreams.org
Mar 6, 2016
3
10 Things to Know About Nonviolent Struggle

“There is a place between passivity and violence. I’ll meet you there.” – Rivera Sun

Nonviolent struggle is on the rise globally. Neither passive, nor inaction, this powerful way of working for change is proving Gandhi’s audacious claim that “nonviolence is the greatest force at the disposal of mankind” to be correct. Here are ten things you should know about nonviolent struggle and how it works.

1. Nonviolent action is used around the world by people of all classes, races, genders, sexualities, faiths, and political beliefs to accomplish a wide range of goals including changing governmental regimes, ending occupations, expelling foreign invasions, overthrowing dictators, stopping destructive industries, protecting the environment, gaining civil rights, creating economic justice and much more.

2. Nonviolent action is twice as successful as violent means, works in a third of the amount of time, and incurs a fraction of the casualties as violent conflict.

3. While researchers don’t know how few people are necessary to successfully use nonviolent action to accomplish their goals, researchers do know that every movement they studied that successfully mobilized 3.5% of the populace always won.

4. There are over two hundred methods of nonviolent action, including marches, demonstrations, rallies, boycotts, strikes, sit-ins, blockades, noncooperation, civil disobedience, work stoppages and slowdowns, refusal to provide services and much more.

5. There are two hands of nonviolence: the hand that says no to injustice, and the hand that says yes to justice. Gandhian nonviolence might refer to these as obstructive and constructive programs. Others refer to the two-fold strategy as “oppose and propose”, or noncooperation with the destructive and cooperation with the beneficial. For example, a movement might work to ban factory farming while simultaneously encouraging the support of local, small farms.

6. Use acts of protest and persuasion such as speeches, fliers, and marches to spread knowledge of your issue or cause. Use constructive actions such as alternative institutions and parallel governments to build new systems rooted in justice. And, use acts of noncooperation and intervention such as boycotts, strikes, shut-downs, etc. to disrupt the injustice and remove cooperation and consent.

7. Movements use a series of nonviolent actions to build a campaign around a specific objective. A series of campaigns builds into a set of stepping-stones to accomplish the large goals of the movement.

8. Nonviolent movements for change seek to remove support from the injustice, and instead place support in systems of justice. These types of support may include material resources, money, human resources, skills and knowledge, authority, the sanction-power of police and military, communications, public opinion, and intangible factors such as obedience, fear, hope, loyalty, etc.

9. Unlike violent conflicts which dehumanize people in order to hurt or kill them, nonviolent movements benefit from humanizing everyone involved, including the movement, the opposition, and the bystanders.

10. Nonviolent struggle is used by ordinary, extraordinary people just like you and me. Find a movement, get involved, start a campaign, participate in an action, build an alternative system, and find ways to make change right where you are.

 
Trending Videos
Documentary Series
Communication Skills
The Bloom Series: A Journey Through Transformational Festivals
Films For Patrons: Donate $5/mo to Gain Access to These Great Films

Films For Action is a library for people who want to change the world.

 

Our mission is to provide citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more beautiful, just, sustainable, and democratic society.

Films For Action was founded in 2006 by a few friends in Lawrence, Kansas, after realizing how essential healthy media is to a healthy democracy.

Over the last 15 years, we've reviewed and curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world.

During this time we've been able to reach tens of millions of people - not by owning a TV network or spending truckloads of cash on advertising, but because millions of awesome people keep sharing 'films for action' with their friends on social media - in particular, our 850,000 supporters on Facebook and 70,000 site members. 

One of the coolest things is, thanks to our patrons, our library is ad-free and 100% supported by member donations. We don't accept any government or corporate funding, and the dozens of emails we get every week asking us to put ads or sponsored posts on the site just go in the trash bin. The Pay-Per-View films on our site, of course, help support the filmmakers, and 90-100% of the revenue for PPV films hosted by us goes to the filmmakers. 

To thank our $5/mo patron subscribers, we partner with filmmakers to provide access to a growing number of films that are normally PPV. With just 26 highly-curated films at the moment, it's basically a mini "Netflix for world changers," but its main function is to support the library as a whole, which is 99% free and always will be.

Want to become a patron? Subscribe here. You can cancel or pause your subscription at any time.

If you'd like to know more, want to help out, or you're a filmmaker or distributor looking to collaborate, drop us a line via our contact page. 

Cheers,  
Tim Hjersted
Co-Founder & Director
Lawrence, KS