Friday, March 11, 2016

Non Violent Resistance and the Practical Aspects of Disciplined Protest

Karuna Mantena has penned a wonderfully concise summary of both the history, and heartfelt rational of non violent resistance to state sanctioned injustice. It is a read that I wholeheartedly recommend. If you believe, as I do, that fundamental change must occur within all states that still adhere to our current economic model, than you must take time to consider what is at stake in how you would go about making that change.

The problem here, of course, is one of basic human nature, as well as how it applies to both sides of a fundamental disagreement. As Ms. Mantena points out beliefs and convictions are seldom held without some investment of a person's identity and ego. Conversely, when push comes to shove in the heat of confrontation that the annoyance of protest generates, resisting the temptation to respond in kind requires a great discipline in the manner one carries out each step of making an injustice known. As such, if you want to penetrate the heart of those in opposition, you must rise above their initial anger. And you do this because only by penetrating their hearts can you get them to listen to the rational justification of your cause.

This is why disciplined suffering has a chance to succeed where simply answering violence with violence does not. I would add only one thing to this already well articulated argument.

The decline in the efficacy of violence stems not only as described by Ms. Mantena. There is a further component that ought to be recognized as well: That a greater understanding of how holistic thinking compels us to see that everything is connected. That, in this many layered web of life that we are a part of, harm to one aspect translates, via so many channels that we've barely begun to understand, to various degrees to every other aspect. In this suffering is not necessarily linear, or sequential, at all, but emanates as waves of effect that cannot be seen in a narrow focus anymore. As such, to truly respect that interconnectedness we must act accordingly in all aspects of endeavor; even if ignorance, or egotistical selfishness, persists in lashing out in defiance of that basic, loving connection to life as a whole.

At the end of the day, what we're really talking about here is injustice at every scale of thoughtful, loving structure. The very survival of not only our species, but every other is at stake. And how we connect with each other will be just as important to how we connect to the rest of life around us.

The power of nonviolence

Nonviolent politics have unique power to change the world, but they require strategic suffering and ascetic self-mastery

by Karuna Mantena

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