Practicing nonviolence in word, deed, and spirit is one method among many to seek the liberation of our people. Rather than memorizing the steps and procedures sometimes laid out in the body of work called “Nonviolence,” this practice foremost calls us to embrace our personal system of ethics that defines our orientation in activism.
What are our values? To whom or to what are we accountable? What is the spiritual attitude with which we organize? How do we live and labor within community?
Let’s set the stage. A nonviolent practice asks that we not conform to this world as it is, scraping out just enough space so that a few survive another day within the violent systems that shape our world. While not unique among ethical systems of social change, a nonviolent practice is certainly embedded in a history and lineage of ancestors steeped in Solidarity. Practicing nonviolent activism invites a commitment to life abundant, wherein we seek the survival and liberation of all, not just a few. Solidarity, in turn, invites us to begin our work at the margins, redistributing power, sharing leadership, and centering wisdom won through hardship and survival.
We can stay the course.
We cannot be diverted in the pursuit of justice and liberation towards mealy compromises and distracting debates on form, tone, or process.
Our ethics are consistent and we’re doing the work to be sure our goal continues to be to getting all of us free.
We can reside confidently in the knowledge that our freedom does not require the oppression of another, though our oppressors will surely cry out otherwise. What they are losing is power over another and privileged access to the systems of violence that keep us all from thriving. What they are gaining is an invitation to a world in which we are all free.
We are unabashed in taking up our tender, spirited beliefs and ardently pursuing collective liberation.
When you think about nonviolent resistance, does it bring to mind specific kinds of actions? A particular attitude or spiritual orientation?
What does it mean for you to work from the margins? Who do you center in your activism? Who are you in solidarity with?
What are the values or ethics that define your activism?