Adherence to nonviolence is essential for healing our communities and our environment. This is true for both moral and strategic reasons.
The recent chaos in Charlottesville demonstrates the error of some of those opposing the white supremacists using violence themselves. President Trump attempted to use that to minimize the blame on the supremacists, which has now emboldened them. Some of the anti-alt-right protestors justified using force as self defense and protection of clergy who were under attack.
Unfortunately a leader of the AntiFA (anti fascist) movement indicated force is justified to oppose fascism. This is alarming and wrong. As we work with others to resist white nationalism it is crucial that we promote, teach and train others about nonviolence.
Former NBC New anchor Tom Brokaw described the nonviolent civil disobedience actions of Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement as some of the most moving things he had seen when he was talking about what happened in Charlottesville recently. This shows the impact of the example of those who adhere to nonviolence. This respect is usually true even for those who are the subject of the nonviolent campaign. One of the primary goals of nonviolence is to help those involved in injustice see things differently, and change themselves.
The strict discipline of the water protectors at Standing Rock was a moral victory, and ignited a global movement of support that continues today. Everyone who went to Standing Rock was required to attend nonviolence training sessions.
Below is an amazing video of Nahko Bear performing at the Water Protectors Youth Concert Sept 8, 2016 just four days after they were attacked by dogs. He says the resounding message he hears again and again during his travels around the world is:
“Remember that nonviolent direct action is the way to a successful revolution. And that is a hard one, because they are so bad (chuckles). When they come at us you just want to hit ’em, you know? Just sit with that. I know it’s tough. They’re going to try to do everything they can to instigate you. But remember what we’re here for. We’re here to create peace for our Mother. We’re not here to create more violence.”