BK Blog Post
Posted by Michael Nagler.
Michael is founder and president of the Metta Center for Nonviolence and the author of Our Spiritual Crisis and The Search for a Nonviolent Future, which received a 2002 American Book Award and has been translated into several languages.
This first post looks at the outward aspects of strategy: creating a proactive, long-term nonviolent movement. The second part considers the inner aspects of strategy: exploring who we are as human beings and building meaningful lives.
It has been heartwarming to see the passion with which many Americans have said their “No!” to the policies of hatred and intolerance put forward by this extremely unfortunate administration. We are not and never will be a land of hate.
At the same time, passion must be harnessed. Nonviolence advocates and scholars are very aware of the limitations of what we call “the effervescence of the crowd.” As Erica Chenoweth, George Lakey, and others are pointing out, to prevail against the current barrage of attacks on our democracy – and moral character as a nation – we must be sure to develop the resurgent movement, with the following guidelines:
In addition to the way nonviolence has been growing in several dimensions other than just size – the collaboration of many communities, the expansion of research and education, etc. – we have noted with great appreciation the signs of greater sophistication here and there across the growing movement. These include recognizing the need for all the points just listed, the relaxation of the rigidity of certain ideologies, for example that against any kind of leadership, and doubtless others that will manifest in the coming months.
We would never have wished things to come to this pass in this country or around the world; but we will not let these circumstances defeat us. As Valerie Kaur said in an extremely passionate statement the other day, may this not be the “darkness of the tomb, but the darkness of the womb” – the womb of love and justice.