Time to Escalate Our Nonviolent Efforts

by Stephanie Van Hook, Director, Conflict Resolution Service, Green Shadow Cabinet

Originally published here on Jan. 30th, as a response to Pres. Obama’s State of the Union address.

“Truth-telling is powerful. People don’t try it often enough.” – Guy Saperstein

The power of nonviolence as the key to strengthen our democracy was noticeable by its absence in Obama’s State of the Union address. Gandhi, we may remember, felt that democracy would never be complete without nonviolence, because, among other things, there would be no protection for those who are weak, or who dissent.

Perhaps, by resigning the movement to silence, the President signaled to us that it’s time to escalate our efforts.

One of the most fundamental questions in nonviolence is whether our means are aligned with our ends. Obama has often noted (rather paternalistically) that while we can agree on the ends, we will disagree on the means, in other words that he can use whatever means suit him – reminiscent of the Bush quip, “I’m the decider.”

He misses the point; The means for anything are more important than the ends.

Read more here.