Principles in theory and practice

Principles in theory and practice

Nonviolence needs to be better understood, and employed, both as a tactic in the service of social and political change–often described as “nonviolent direct action;” people nonviolently protesting and often risking arrest to call attention to injustice but also as a guiding philosophy of how we humans need to evolve in order to live with each other and with our fragile environment. Generally, practitioners of nonviolence agree on a few overarching principles. Respect for those who disagree with you is an important one–there is no “hate” or “enemy” involved, even if we loathe the policies of government officials we are protesting.

Indeed, nonviolent resisters seek not to “defeat” those who disagree with them, but to transform the relationship from adversarial to cooperative in the redress of injustice. For most nonviolent direct actions, participants come up with a code of conduct to follow in the action, which usually include (1. Respecting others, including policy makers, law enforcement personnel and counter protestors, 2. Refraining from physical or verbal violence, 3.Abstaining from drug or alcohol use or possession and 4.Respecting group decision-making and agreeing on the tactical scenario of action)

Nonviolence is justice, peace, energy and loves; because it gives one a peace of mind which is a strength and collection of all mentioned above including a power and force.

Nonviolence as a method for conflict intervention: Most intractable conflicts require outside intervention in order to be constructively transformed or resolved. This intervention can take many forms, and be either formal or informal. Perhaps the best-known form of intervention is mediation, in which a neutral third party (who may be an individual, a panel, an organization, or even a country) will try to help the disputing parties work out their differences in a mutually acceptable way. Unlike arbitrators or judges, mediators have no power to impose a settlement or resolution. Rather, they help the parties to clarify their interests and needs, and their alternatives, in an effort to find a negotiated solution. Usually finding such a solution is extremely time consuming and difficult–if it were easy, the conflict would not be intractable. For those conflicts that have resisted resolution for many months or even years, many interrelated issues must be discussed and resolved, often among a large number of parties. For this reason, the successful mediation of intractable conflicts, while possible, is a significant challenge.

Different other intervention process including, conflict assessment, facilitation, education, dialogue, consensus building, problem solving forum and arbitration could also be taken into consideration if the process goes through and a durable solution is required to come into exist. Nonviolence as a method of conflict intervention tries to follow a series of steps to manage, transform and resolve conflicts.

Nonviolence as a method for struggle: Nonviolent as a method of struggle is a peaceful way with commitments and clear set-stones objectives to achieve a goal. There are huge amount of examples on nonviolence as a method for struggle. In this regards, Nelson Mandila, Pacha Khan in KPK and Gandhi services and actions are clear examples of the history. Let me touch upon the iconic struggle between the apartheid regime of South Africa and those who resisted it illustrate the complexity of some cases of civil resistance. Originally the use of civil resistance against apartheid was based on Gandhian ideas, which originated in South Africa in 1906 where Gandhi was a lawyer working for an Indian trading firm. Soon the African National Congress (ANC), founded in 1912, became the major force opposing the apartheid system’s oppression of the 80% non-European population of the country.

Nonviolence as a method of struggle is an unarmed and non-brutal form of struggle against injustice, oppression and violence aiming to reach justice, equality, freedom, human rights in the society we live in. the struggle can transcend to peace through the open dialogue following the interpreting, strategic and tactical positions.

The struggles against Colonial domination; the example of the Tibetan struggles against China; Tibetans experienced revolutions for their independence from China. Some of these revolutions/rebellions have been violent but “in the aftermath of the 2008 uprising, Tibetans were engaging in a growing noncooperation movement. Tibetans were channeling their spirit of resistance into social, cultural and economic activities that are non-cooperative (refusing to support Chinese institutions and businesses) and self-constructive (promoting Tibetan language and other self-reliance and cultural capital-building activities.

Nonviolence as humanization of politics: Humanization play instrumental role in conflict-resolution processes more generally. It is often a crucial component in establishing cooperative relations between parties and promoting trust-building and constructive resolution. Recognizing the common humanity of one’s opponent can pave the way for mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual security. Once parties have begun to appreciate the humanity of their opponents, they can begin to listen responsively to the views of the other, build on their ideas, and engage in constructive resolution. This might involve taking responsibility for harmful consequences, apologizing for them, and seeking reconciliation. Recognizing the other as a member of one’s moral community also fosters honesty and leads parties to focus on actual issues rather than engaging in personal attacks. Humanization can also pave the way for reciprocity and a belief in human equality, creating shared norms that constrain the way the conflict is waged.

Nonviolence as a humanization of politics aligns with the theoretical and practical dimension of politics. Its core values are the differentiation of humanity from violence through politics and nonviolence. The politics is a rule of game without killing and showing a trust worthy behavior. The trust which gradually built lead to understanding each other’s humanity and revises dehumanization and promotes joint accomplishment.

Reciprocity requires that each party treat the other with the fairness and respect that it would normally expect if in the other’s position. It is an expression of the Golden Rule: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Human equality implies that all human beings are entitled to just and respectful treatment. Humanization can allow parties to see that even their opponents are deserving of such treatment. Thus, it can be a crucial component of conflict transformation.

Nonviolence as personal introspection: Knowledge can change you if you are willing to use it in the process of introspection. Introspection is the process of becoming self-aware. Introspection is actually risky but is the first step towards transformation. Once you know your personality type then the challenge is to begin giving up the way you compulsively live it out. The challenge is to change. You must work to acknowledge both positive and negative aspects of your style. You must work to give up the compulsions and avoidances. You also begin the work of broadening you personality by trying to raise yourself to the highest level of your type while integrating the positive characteristics of your Enneagram neighbors.

Furthermore, you work to avoid the easy movement under stress towards disintegration while making the effort of moving towards the high level traits of the integration type. You can live with more freedom and flexibility. You can access the energy of the different types because you now see through more than one lens of personality. Nonviolence as a personal introspection requires everyone to have the practice and acquisition of self-knowledge, understanding of ones limit and self-control towards mediation. Internal dialogues through analysis and conclusion lead to intimate and deeper meaning of life.

Nonviolence as a vision of humanity: in the light of nonviolence we see more clearly that human beings are not created to dominate or kill each other but to serve and to love one another. Though they are each unique and personal, humans are not created to live selfishly at the expense of others. Rather, humans are created to interdependence to depend of God and one another in a never ending circle of nonviolent love. We are created as a global community. In short, nonviolence as a vision of humanity depends on existence of human freedom and dignity for realization and aspiration through love. The true love leads to a form of alliance and cooperation contributing to a vision that never ignores humanity


EPISODE 2: MLK: A Call to Conscience , What Does “Nonviolence” Really Mean? By Kevin Martin

Five Types of Conflict Resolution Strategies , by Erin Schreiner

The Anti-Apartheid Struggle in South Africa (1912-1992), By Lester Kurtz – June 2010

Introspection: Knowledge Helps





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