By Kathie MM
In a response to my recent post honoring Gene Sharpe for his long commitment to nonviolent opposition to dictatorial regimes,
Ed Agro commented, “the prescriptions are of little help in the next step: once the struggle is “over” – when the dictator is deposed, or the social malaise is evident to everyone – how do we actually form a government or social order that builds upon the struggle?
In a brief (eight minute) Ted Talk Jamila Raqib, one of Sharpe’s disciples, provides some insight into the problem. She explains, powerfully, that
*Nonviolence won’t accomplish much as a moral philosophy; it needs to be a tool, a program of action.
*Nonviolence has proven its effectiveness over the centuries; for example, most of the rights that women and people of color currently have in this country were gained through nonviolent action.
*It’s not enough just to protest against the misuse of power; the sources of that power must be identified and overwhelmed with nonviolent tactics—for example economic power can be weakened through massive general strikes; government-controlled propagnda can be combatted by alternative media.
*To be successful, nonviolent struggle needs to organize and coordinate acts of resistance within the context of strategic planning. It needs clear objectives, and carefully thought-out plans regarding how to achieve them.
Listening to Jamila’s inspiring speech, I decided I would like to see, at peace and social justice rallies, fewer general slogans and more specific recommendations for action.
Philosophically, “Make peace, not war” is a great feel-good mantra, but it doesn’t provide much guidance for anti-war activists.
“Ban the bomb” may be a step in the right direction, but wouldn’t the following be better:
Tell them Heed the UN.
Ban the bomb!”
For examples of some other action-oriented signs, see here
And then please:
Engage in Peace Action!
Assume your objective is to:
What specific steps could you recommend?
Submit your peace and social justice action slogans to engagingpeace.com.