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Six Principles of Nonviolent Campaigns

By David R. Blumenthal / filmsforaction.org
Aug 11, 2014
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Six Principles of Nonviolent Campaigns

Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote that the philosophy and practice of nonviolence has six basic elements.

Principle One: Nonviolence is a way of life for courageous people

  • It is active nonviolent resistance to evil.
  • It is aggressive spiritually, mentally and emotionally.
  • It is always persuading the opponent of the righteousness of your cause.
  • It is only passive in its non-aggression toward its enemy.

 

Principle Two: Nonviolence seeks to win friendship and understanding

  • The end of nonviolence is redemption and reconciliation.
  • The purpose of nonviolence is the creation of The Beloved Community.

 

Principle Three: Nonviolence seeks to defeat injustice not people

  • Nonviolence recognizes that evil doers are also victims and are not evil people.
  • The nonviolent resister seeks to defeat evil not people.

 

Principle Four: Nonviolence holds that suffering can educate and transform

  • Nonviolence accepts suffering without retaliation.
  • Nonviolence accepts violence if necessary, but will never inflict it.
  • Nonviolence willingly accepts the consequences of its act.
  • Unearned suffering is redemptive and has tremendous education and transforming possibilities.
  • Suffering has the power to convert the enemy when reason fails.

 

Principle Five: Nonviolence chooses love instead of hate

  • Nonviolence resists violence of the spirit as well as the body.
  • Nonviolent love is spontaneous, unmotivated, unselfish and creative.
  • Nonviolent love gives willingly knowing that the return might be hostility.
  • Nonviolent love is active, not passive.
  • Nonviolent love is unending in its ability to forgive in order to restore community.
  • Nonviolent love does not sink to the level of the hater.
  • Love for the enemy is how we demonstrate love for ourselves.
  • Love restores community and resists injustice.
  • Nonviolence recognizes the fact that all life is interrelated.

 

Principle Six: Nonviolence believes that the universe is on the side of justice

  • The nonviolent resister has deep faith that justice will eventually win
  • Nonviolence believes that God is a God of justice.

 

This is an excerpt from The Banality of Good and Evil: Moral Lessons from the Shoah and Jewish Tradition.

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