Non-Violence, Essay Example
Non-violence is a strategy and philosophy for social change that does reject the society use of violence. Non-violence is also seen as an alternative to the passive acceptance of the armed struggle and oppression against it. Non violence practitioners use diverse methods in their campaigns for the social change that includes; the critical forms of non-violence direct action and civil disobedience, education and persuasion and the targeted communication through the mass media (Chris 45).
Non-violence has been powerful tool in the modern times for the social protest. Martin Luther King is one of the people who used non violence to struggle for winning the civil rights for the African Americans. Pacifism is a synonym for the term non-violence. Pacifism means use of violence rejection as personal decision on spiritual or moral grounds although it does not imply inclination towards the change on any social political level. On the other hand, non violence presupposes the aim of political or social change to be the reason of rejecting the violence (Chris 45).
There are three categories of non violence. They include noncooperation, acts of protest and persuasion, and nonviolent intervention. Act of protest or persuasion as a non violent are mainly the symbolic actions that are performed by a group of people who wants to show their disapproval or even support for something. This action’s goal is to bring the awareness of the public to an issue, influence a group of people or even to facilitate nonviolent action in future. The message can be directed to opponents, public or even people who have been affected by an issue. Methods or ways of protest and persuasion include speeches, petitions, symbolic acts, communication in public, processions or marches, arts and public assemblies. Non cooperation does involve the withholding of the cooperation or the unwillingness to initiate with cooperating with the opponent. The goal of this is to hinder or stop an industry, economic process or even political process. It mainly includes economic boycotts, civil disobedience, labor strikes, tax refusal and the general disobedience. Non violence intervention is a more direct method of non violent. It is more effective and immediate than the others. It is usually more taxing and hard to maintain. It includes parallel government, fasting and occupations or sits INS (Chris 45).
Malcolm X argues that the violence was the option in the situations where the non-violence was not possible. Malcolm X maintained that although non violence was essential and of paramount, it was not applicable in the situations where the fruits of non violence were not achieved. He at some point criticized the Martin Luther King argument that the non violent ways should be applied always. Malcolm X said to the African Americans that they should continue to defend themselves and had that right of defending themselves from their oppressors. He said that the African Americans should protect themselves if government was not unable or unwilling to protect the black people. He said that they should use any means they can to protect themselves. He went ahead to reject the use of non violence as the means of securing or getting equality declaring that the members of the Afro American Unity and also himself were very much determined to get the justice, freedom and equality by any means whether violence or non violence. This contradicts with the Martin Luther King opinion that does not entertain at any oint any act of violence (Chris 45).
Non violence is an effective method of resistance according to Martin Luther King. He argues that the non violence way may be seen as for cowards but it is not. But it was a method of resisting. Martin Luther argues that a non violent protester is as passionate as the person whose ways of protesting are violent. The only difference is that he is not physically aggressive but his emotions and mind are ever active and they are constantly trying to convince the opponent that he is greatly misguided or mistaken or he is wrong. This requires a lot of spiritual courage and great emotional to stand against the injustices. Many people believes that only the people who use physical ways are aggressive in the way they act as they violently protest but Martin Luther says that even those who do not use violence ways physically by being emotional and participates aggressively with his mind towards their opponents (Deanna).
Martin Luther continues to support that the non violence way is also effective in that it does not humiliate the opponent. It instead helps one to gain his understanding and friendship. He further says that the methods of non cooperation and boycotts were meant to awaken the sense of the moral shame in the opponent. This results to redemption and reconciliation rather than chaos and bitterness as a result of violence resistance. The non violent as a means of asking for the justice does not disgrace the opponent but rather it tries to seek his friendship and understanding. This seems to be a polite and smooth way of getting the justice done. According to Martin Luther, the awakening of the opponents mind leads to him thinking back and making a decision which eventually or rather makes a friendship to emerge between the two rivals and eventually the justice is gotten without any side being hurt as a result (Deanna).
The third point Martin Luther advanced was the battle against the evil forces but not against the individuals. He said that the tension was not between the tribes or races but between the injustice and justice or between the forces of darkness and forces of light. The tension only existed between the evil and good and not between people and if there was victory, it would be for justice and forces of light. This makes the non violence to be effective as it uses ways that are not evil and does not hurt in anyway be it physical. It is very open and does not target the individual but the behaviors of the person who is oppressive. According to Martin Luther, the person has no problem but the problem is the behaviors that are attached with him. Therefore if it is possible to change the behavior of any person or the forces of the behavior in him it would be better and this would be possible if no violence at all was used (Deanna).
The safety of the person who is protesting is very looked after. The non violence resistance requires the willingness to suffer. It is important for one to accept violence without retaliating with the violence and must be ready to go to the jail if it is necessary. Martin Luther King believed that the acceptance of suffering led to the tremendous educational and even transforming possibilities and it is a very powerful tool towards changing the opponent’s minds. This show how effective non violence as ways of resistance should be adopted instead of violence. Retaliatory violence causes more trauma, chaos and hatred. Acceptance of the suffering by the Protestants usually leads to a change in the mind and the heart of the opponent. It has never in any place with violence been heard of any unreported injuries. This means or clearly shows that the violence consequences are fatal and severe always. Martin Luther argues or says that one should not under any circumstance accept to retaliate with violence at all cost. He argues that one should even be ready to go to jail if the situation proves so. This brings a lot of implication to the opponent to an extent of him changing his mind. This makes the non violence be an effective way of resistance as compared to violence ways which has very severe consequences (Deanna).
Martin Luther King talking about the non violence resistance said that the universe or the world was on the justice side and that the people have a companionship that is cosmic with God who is on truth side of the life. Therefore, activists have faith that the justice will one day occur in the future. This differs with the violent ways of demanding justice. The kind of faith is very essential in that one can do it deeper in his heart and with God’s intervention this may end up being very much effective. Martin Luther King told the African Americans activists should ensure that they keep the faith and that the justice will occur in the future. Martin Luther believed that God pays everything in this world and that everything done in this world has to pay in this world. If one is done injustice in this world, then definitely he will have to be paid as God does not forsake his people. Those who do injustices to others according to the Martin Luther shall pay for the same in this world. This contradicts to the Malcolm’s X suggestions of that if non violence ways do not work, then the violence ways should be used without hesitating (Deanna).
Martin Luther the King believed that the non violence importance was that it prevented or avoided the physical violence and the spirit’s internal violence. The hate and the bitterness that develops in the resisters mind are replaced with the love. This is different from the violence method where by the resister develops a lot hatred and also bitterness due to the violence. The person who is protested against with the violence methods cannot be able to develop love if he approached with violence hence he may also retaliate and be unable to accept or even change his behaviors. Martin Luther king says that there is respect that develops from the opponent as he realizes that those who are seeking justice from him are mature persons who know themselves and their rights and this eventually results to love contrary to the violent ways which results to hatred and bitterness between the two groups involved. This concludes that the non violence is the best way or effective way of resistance (Deanna).
According to the Malcolm X, he criticizes non violence portraying it as passive doctrine that usually causes non violent leaders to radicalize their non violent rhetorical.
Does Nonviolence Have Limitations That Render Violence Necessary In Some Cases?
The violence is not necessary and does not render the non violence at any point. When the violence is used, its aftermath is the bitterness between the two rivals which is very dangerous. This cannot at any point be used to replace the non violent at any point or any circumstances. Comparing to the non violent, its aftermath is reconciliation and beloved community creation rather than the violence or bitterness. Martin Luther does not at any point suggest that the violence can replace or substitute non violence ways under any circumstance (Deanna).
Malcolm X fervently criticized non violence saying that were attempts of imposing the bourgeoisie morals upon the proletariat and that the violent was essential towards accompaniment to the revolutionary change or that the right to self defense is very important. Malcolm X believed that the violence should at all cost be used where there is no other option remaining. Malcolm X argues that it was an offense to any individual who is being mistreated, abused or assaulted to continue accepting being assaulted without doing at least something so as to defend himself. Malcolm X says that one should not just keep quite but he should wake up and take an action even if it means violence (Deanna).
According to the Martin Luther King, the non violence as a way of resistance should be applied at all times no matter how ineffective it is not working. Martin Luther King believed that this will come to a point where the opponent will soften his heart and change completely. Martin Luther believed that everybody can change.
At no point should the violent ways be applied as this would mean attacking the individual person and not the forces of the evil. This is according to Martin Luther who says that non violence is there to defeat or fight the injustice and not to the persons like the violence methods which target the individuals or persons. This contradicts to the Malcolm X views which argue that if non violence fails then violence should prevail and even if it means fighting with the person as an individual. He supported this by arguing the blacks and his fellow Afro American Unity organization members that they should be determined to win or get justice , freedom and even equality by any means that would be necessary including using the violence (Deanna).
Martin Luther King continues to support that the non violent should not at any point be overcome by the violent. This is because the violent ways usually or always results to bloodshed and even casualties as the opponent retaliates back still with violent. Hence there should no point where the violent should be used or overcome the violence. If the non violence way is substituted by the violence, then this would mean that hatred and bitterness automatically develops between the opponents, therefore it should not be necessary under any case. Using violence does not also guarantee that the justice will be provided hence should not be viewed as an alternative way to justice other than non violence in any case whatever the circumstances (Deanna).
Deanna Proach K. Martin Luther King. 5 Jan. 2009. 15 Dec. 2009. <http://modern-us-history.suite101.com/article.cfm/martin_luther_king>
Chris, Graham J. Peace building alum talks practical app of nonviolence, London: Augusta Free Press, 2009.
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