Entries on nonviolence

  • 25 April 2007

    The purpose of the Equality Ride isn't to protest — it's to have a dialogue with the students. When colleges have let them, Equality Riders have had open discussions with students about LGBT and queer identities and religious perspectives in support of such identities. To me, this is one of the most important examples of radical activism I've seen in a long time. Equality Riders aren't trying to pass legislation, they're not trying to sue people in the courts, they're not running for Congress or working on a campaign — they're talking directly to those most directly affected by this oppression.

  • 19 January 2007

    UfPJ and allied groups, which seemed early on to have strong connections to the global justice movement, seems to have been transformed — in the hopes of attracting more "mainstream" participants — into not an anti-war organization, but an anti-Iraq War organization; not a pro-peace movement, but a pro-better-war-policy movement. Few connections are made to "the soul of America," as King would describe it, and much attention is focused on those things that are at best cogs in the system — individual policies on the war, planning or lack thereof for the war, and particular Republicans in Congress and the White House. Yet these problems go considerably beyond Bush and Republicans.

  • 10 January 2007

    (As published in the journal Peace & Change) When the important work of third-party nonviolent intervention is undertaken by people with relative privilege, it runs the risk of hindering the empowerment of the local movements they aim to assist by replicating racist or classist dynamics in the struggle itself. By relying on the status attached to the economic, cultural, and military dominance of the Global North, nonviolent intervention organizations can facilitate a relationship of dependency that offers short-term strategic advantages but that in itself is less likely to promote the nonviolent empowerment of local movements. Sensitivity training within intervention organizations may help activists strategize in ways that avoid some of the pitfalls of operating from positions of privilege.

  • 10 November 2005

    Had French society allowed for nonviolent social movements to form and flourish, violence would have seemed politically inefficient. Because immigrants and the working-class are so effectively shut out of French society, they have no other way to effect change than to violently demand it.

  • 9 October 2005

    When third-party nonviolent intervention is undertaken by people with relative privilege, it runs the risk of failing to empower the local movements they aim to assist. They may indeed disempower to some extent those they seek to support by injecting racist or classist dynamics, however subtly, into the struggle itself.