Creating a nonviolent practice is an ethical crucible. Doing so calls us to refine not only the “what” of our work but also, more critically, the “why” of our work. The truth of our ethics is found in the careful articulation of what motivates both means and ends.
Meanwhile, we deserve to be healed and renewed in the work of our liberation. Our personal story is bound up in our collective story, which means we have to seek our own equilibrium and our own “why.”
One person’s Nice is how they tend to their heart’s well-being in the struggle. Another person’s Nice can center the adversary’s feelings over the survival of the oppressed. Nice as a strategy can serve us well, but Nice as a bid for temporary safety by seeking favor with the oppressor is a dangerous trade not all of us can make.
Let’s take our inspiration from courage, self-awareness, and commitment to justice rather than fear or the desire to be liked. When our individual and collective bodies and souls are on the line, our moral measure lies in our commitment to searching for and implementing the tactics that free us. Niceness for its own sake will rarely save us. Let’s deploy our Niceness judiciously, like a knowing pact among our people so that Power does not even see us coming.
Have you experienced methods of activism that feel healing to you?
What are your politics on Niceness?
To what extent do you care about how your adversary feels about you and your work?
How do you take measure of the ethics of your activism?