‘Readings in Nonviolence’ features
extracts from our favourite books, pamphlets, articles or other material on
nonviolence, or reviews of important works in the field (suggestions welcome).
An example of North American nonviolence
Nonviolence is a worldwide phenomenon. It may be practised instinctively, because of cultural, political, religious or other beliefs and practices, it may be pragmatic in being what is possible in a particular situation. It is thus a phenomenon not restricted to those who believe in nonviolence – though belief and preparation may be important, even vital in certain circumstances. In saying this we have to be careful to credit the belief systems that people hold and, if necessary, qualify their nonviolence not from the point of view of saying it is inferior to ours but so we are not seen to be imperialist in claiming something for what it is not.
Putting this another way, ‘nonviolence’ does not belong to those who proclaim belief in it, it is not our property but the property of the human race. We can boast about the advantages of nonviolence, we can show its effectiveness, its adaptability, even its wide use throughout this globe. But ‘we’ who proclaim nonviolence are not ‘it’ though we may be part of ‘it’. Nonviolence may be advanced through our work, our witness, our actions, our determination and resolve. But nonviolence is also greater than us, wider than us, more widespread than us.
The following piece, from the Open Democracy website, is a good illustration of this through a nonviolent campaign in North America in the late twentieth century. - RF.